To evaluate the elastic modulus of various ligaments of the forelimbs of cadaveric horses.
408 ligaments from 37 forelimbs of 10 Thoroughbred cadavers and cadavers of 9 other horse breeds.
Collateral ligaments and straight and oblique sesamoid ligaments were harvested from the proximal interphalangeal, metacarpophalangeal, carpal, and elbow joints of both forelimbs of all 19 horses. Ligament dimensions were measured, and the elastic modulus was determined by tensile testing the ligaments with a strain rate of 1 mm•s−1.
Elastic modulus of the ligaments differed significantly among joints. Highest mean ± SE elastic modulus was for the medial collateral ligament of the metacarpophalangeal joints of Thoroughbreds (68.3 ± 11.0 MPa), and the lowest was for the lateral collateral ligament of the elbow joints of other breeds (2.8 ± 0.3 MPa). Thoroughbreds had a significantly higher elastic modulus for the collateral ligaments of the proximal interphalangeal and metacarpophalangeal joints, compared with values for the other breeds. There was large variation in elastic modulus. Elastic modulus was negatively affected by age. In the ligaments in the distal aspect of the forelimbs, elastic modulus was negatively affected by height at the highest point of the shoulders (ie, withers).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Cross-sectional area and elastic modulus of collateral ligaments in the forelimbs of equine cadavers differed between breeds and among joints, which may have been reflective of their relative physiologic function under loading during exercise.