To investigate the effects of novel legwear designed to limit metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ) extension and redirect loading forces from the flexor apparatus through analyses of 2-D kinematic and kinetic data.
6 adult horses without musculoskeletal disease.
Horses were subjected to 4 treatments: control (no legwear), inactive legwear (unlimited legwear extension), and active legwear with mild (30°) and moderate (20°) legwear extension limitation. Two-dimensional kinematic data were collected for the right forelimb (FL) during walk and trot and from leading and trailing FLs during canter on a treadmill. Ground reaction force (GRF) data were collected from FLs during overground walk and trot. Peak MCPJ angle and angular velocity were calculated from kinematic data, and peak force and average loading rate were calculated from vertical GRF data during the stance phase of the gait. Interactions between gait and treatment were determined via ANOVA.
Interactions between gait and treatment for peak MCPJ angle were significant. Significant reductions in MCPJ angle were noted between the control treatment and legwear with moderate extension limitation for trot and canter (leading and trailing FL) and between inactive legwear and legwear with moderate extension limitation for trot and leading FL during canter. Interactions among peak MCPJ angular velocity, peak vertical GRF, and average loading rate of the vertical GRF showed nonsignificance.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Significant reductions in MCPJ extension without significant alterations to peak vertical GRF suggested the legwear's ability to redistribute internal forces. Findings suggested that the legwear may be beneficial for horses rehabilitating from flexor apparatus injuries.