Disease-specific changes in equine ground reaction force data documented by use of principal component analysis

G. E. Williams From the Department of Animal Science, De Montfort University, Grantham, England NG32 3EP (Williams); the School of Mathematics (Silverman) and the Department of Anatomy (Wilson), University of Bristol, Bristol, England BS2 8EJ; and the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hatfield, England AL9 7TE (Goodship).

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B. W. Silverman From the Department of Animal Science, De Montfort University, Grantham, England NG32 3EP (Williams); the School of Mathematics (Silverman) and the Department of Anatomy (Wilson), University of Bristol, Bristol, England BS2 8EJ; and the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hatfield, England AL9 7TE (Goodship).

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A. M. Wilson From the Department of Animal Science, De Montfort University, Grantham, England NG32 3EP (Williams); the School of Mathematics (Silverman) and the Department of Anatomy (Wilson), University of Bristol, Bristol, England BS2 8EJ; and the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hatfield, England AL9 7TE (Goodship).

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A. E. Goodship From the Department of Animal Science, De Montfort University, Grantham, England NG32 3EP (Williams); the School of Mathematics (Silverman) and the Department of Anatomy (Wilson), University of Bristol, Bristol, England BS2 8EJ; and the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hatfield, England AL9 7TE (Goodship).

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the force plate as a diagnostic aid in equine locomotor abnormalities, particularly for abnormalities such as navicular disease that do not have specific diagnostic criteria.

Animals

17 Thoroughbreds without observable locomotor abnormalities (group A), 6 Thoroughbreds with superficial digital flexor tendon injury (group B), and 8 Thoroughbreds with navicular disease (group C).

Procedure

Using a force plate, ground reaction force patterns were recorded at the trot. Peak limb vertical force and force/time curve parameters were derived from 4 identifiable points at the beginning and end of vertical and craniocaudal horizontal plots. Principal component analysis (PCA) of group-A data was undertaken on beginning and end of stride data, and the first 2 components were represented graphically. The PCA rotation matrices were applied to equivalent data for horses of groups B and C.

Results

Asymmetry of peak vertical force (PVF) could not be differentiated among groups A, B, and C. Values for group-B horses, however, were significantly outside mean group-A values on the PCA plot for beginning of stride phase variables. Group-B data were within the group-A range for end of stride phase variables. Values for group-C horses were significantly outside the group-A range for beginning of stride phase variables and were outside mean group-A values for end of stride phase variables.

Conclusions

PCA of force/time data provides a sensitive method to evaluate the force/time curve associated with 2 specific injury/disease processes.

Clinical Relevance

Horses alter weight-bearing in biomechanically distinct ways, thus creating potential for the force plate to become an important diagnostic and prognostic tool. (Am J Vet Res 1999;60:549–555)

Abstract

Objective

To assess the force plate as a diagnostic aid in equine locomotor abnormalities, particularly for abnormalities such as navicular disease that do not have specific diagnostic criteria.

Animals

17 Thoroughbreds without observable locomotor abnormalities (group A), 6 Thoroughbreds with superficial digital flexor tendon injury (group B), and 8 Thoroughbreds with navicular disease (group C).

Procedure

Using a force plate, ground reaction force patterns were recorded at the trot. Peak limb vertical force and force/time curve parameters were derived from 4 identifiable points at the beginning and end of vertical and craniocaudal horizontal plots. Principal component analysis (PCA) of group-A data was undertaken on beginning and end of stride data, and the first 2 components were represented graphically. The PCA rotation matrices were applied to equivalent data for horses of groups B and C.

Results

Asymmetry of peak vertical force (PVF) could not be differentiated among groups A, B, and C. Values for group-B horses, however, were significantly outside mean group-A values on the PCA plot for beginning of stride phase variables. Group-B data were within the group-A range for end of stride phase variables. Values for group-C horses were significantly outside the group-A range for beginning of stride phase variables and were outside mean group-A values for end of stride phase variables.

Conclusions

PCA of force/time data provides a sensitive method to evaluate the force/time curve associated with 2 specific injury/disease processes.

Clinical Relevance

Horses alter weight-bearing in biomechanically distinct ways, thus creating potential for the force plate to become an important diagnostic and prognostic tool. (Am J Vet Res 1999;60:549–555)

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