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To quantify the translation and angular rotation of the distal sesamoid bone (DSB) using computed tomography (CT) and medical modeling software.


30 thoracic limbs from equine cadavers.


Partial (n = 12), full (8), and matched full and subsequently transected (10) thoracic limbs were collected. Bone volume CT images were acquired in three positions: extension (200° metacarpophalangeal angle), neutral (180°), and maximal flexion (110°). Mean translation and angular rotation of each DSB were recorded. Differences were determined with two-way ANOVA and post hoc Tukey’s tests for pairwise comparisons; P value was set at < 0.05.


Dorsal translation was significant during extension (1.4 ± 0.4 mm full limbs and 1.3 ± 0.2 mm partial limbs, P < 0.001). Distal translation was significant during extension (1.9 ± 0.4 mm full and 1.1 ± 0.4 mm partial) and flexion (5.4 ± 0.7 mm full and 6.22 ± 0.6 mm partial, P < 0.001). Rotation was significant (P < 0.001) about the mediolateral axis during extension (17.1° ± 1.4°) and flexion (2.6° ± 1.3°). Translation and rotation of the DSB were significantly different (P < 0.001) between full and partial limbs.


This study provides the first quantification of translation and angular rotation of the DSB within the equine hoof. Partial limbs had significantly reduced movement compared to full limbs, suggesting that transection of flexor tendons alters distal thoracic limb kinematics. Further studies are required to determine if pathologic changes in the podotrochlear apparatus have an impact in clinical lameness outcomes.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research