To assess the motion of the proximal sesamoid bones (PSBs) relative to the third metacarpal bone (MC3) of equine forelimbs during physiologic midstance loads.
8 musculoskeletally normal forelimbs (7 right and 1 left) from 8 adult equine cadavers.
Each forelimb was harvested at the mid-radius level and mounted in a material testing system so the hoof could be moved in a dorsal direction while the radius and MC3 remained vertical. The PSBs were instrumented with 2 linear variable differential transformers to record movement between the 2 bones. The limb was sequentially loaded at a displacement rate of 5 mm/s from 500 N to each of 4 loads (1.8 [standing], 3.6 [walking], 4.5 [trotting], and 10.5 [galloping] kN), held at the designated load for 30 seconds while lateromedial radiographs were obtained, and then unloaded back to 500 N. The position of the PSBs relative to the transverse ridge of the MC3 condyle and angle of the metacarpophalangeal (fetlock) joint were measured on each radiograph.
The distal edge of the PSBs moved distal to the transverse ridge of the MC3 condyle at 10.5 kN (gallop) but not at lower loads. The palmar surfaces of the PSBs rotated away from each other during fetlock joint extension, and the amount of rotation increased with load.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
At loads consistent with a high-speed gallop, PSB translations may create an articular incongruity and abnormal bone stress distribution that contribute to focal subchondral bone lesions and PSB fracture in racehorses.
Objective—To determine morphological and mechanical properties of trabecular bone of horses with a bone fragility syndrome (BFS; including silicate-associated osteoporosis).
Sample—Cylindrical trabecular bone samples from the distal aspects of cadaveric third metacarpal bones of 39 horses (19 horses with a BFS [BFS bone samples] and 20 horses without a BFS [control bone samples]).
Procedures—Bone samples were imaged via micro-CT for determination of bone volume fraction; apparent and mean mineralized bone densities; and trabecular number, thickness, and separation. Bone samples were compressed to failure for determination of apparent elastic modulus and stresses, strains, and strain energy densities for yield, ultimate, and failure loads. Effects of BFS and age of horses on variables were determined.
Results—BFS bone samples had 25% lower bone volume fraction, 28% lower apparent density, 18% lower trabecular number and thickness, and 16% greater trabecular separation versus control bone samples. The BFS bone samples had 22% lower apparent modulus and 32% to 33% lower stresses, 10% to 18% lower strains, and 41 % to 52% lower strain energy densities at yield, ultimate, and failure loads, compared with control bone samples. Differences between groups of bone samples were not detected for mean mineral density and trabecular anisotropy.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that horses with a BFS had osteopenia and compromised trabecular bone function, consistent with bone deformation and pathological fractures that develop in affected horses. Effects of this BFS may be systemic, and bones other than those that are clinically affected had changes in morphological and mechanical properties.