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Am J Vet Res. 1988 Aug;49(8):1344-52.

Kinetics and kinematics of the equine hind limb: in vivo tendon loads and force plate measurements in ponies.

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Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Loads on the suspensory ligament, deep digital flexor tendon, superficial digital flexor tendon, and long digital extensor tendon of the equine hind limb were determined in ponies by use of implanted strain gauges consisting of silicone rubber tubes filled with mercury. Recordings were made simultaneously with force plate measurements and high-speed film recordings while the ponies were walking. The relationship between strain gauge signals and tendon loads was obtained from tension-strain tests performed after death of the ponies. The suspensory ligament and the 2 digital flexor tendons were loaded during the stance phase, and the extensor tendon was loaded mainly during the swing phase. The loading pattern of the suspensory ligament, with peak loads of 4.6 N/kg of body weight, correlated well with the vertical component of the ground reaction force. Maximal loading of the deep digital flexor tendon was observed during the second half of the stance phase, with peak values of 6.7 N/kg. The superficial digital flexor tendon was loaded maximally at the beginning of the stance phase, with a peak load of 4.1 N/kg, and the long digital extensor tendon was loaded maximally during the swing phase, with a peak load of 0.3 N/kg. Recordings made from this procedure for calibration of the strain gauge signals to tendon load and tendon strain, in combination with the force plate measurements, enabled verification of the results by torque analysis of the lower portion of the hind limb, using the vector of the ground reaction force, limb conformation, and limb geometric configuration. Torque analysis of the lower extremity indicated that the determined tendon loads were in agreement with the recorded ground reaction forces.

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