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Am J Vet Res. 1988 Feb;49(2):261-5.

Measurements of bone strain in foals with altered foot balance.

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  • 1Department of General and Large Animal Surgery, State University Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Two to 7 days after birth, 9 foals were anesthetized, and strain gauges were applied to lateral and medial aspects of the third metacarpal bone of the left forelimb. In 5 of these foals, strain gauges also were applied to the radius of the left forelimb. Four to 6 days later, foals were walked (5 sets of 10 to 20 strides), and compressive and tensile strains in the bone beneath strain gauges were recorded on paper and diskette. After recording base-line data, a wedge was fitted to the hoof of the limb with the strain gauges, in such a way that the lateral bearing surface was raised, and strains were recorded again. The wedge was left in place, and further recordings were made every 2 to 3 days for 10 days. At the normal walk (base-line data), the compressive strain was higher than the tensile strain in the third metacarpal bone, on the medial side of which the mean principal compressive strain was approximately twice that on the lateral surface. Immediately after application of the wedge, strain values from the medial surface of the third metacarpal bone decreased by 40%, and the lateral surface compressive strain increased by 100%. These changes gradually decreased over 10 days, at which time there was no significant difference from base-line values (P less than 0.05). Similar but much less obvious trends were observed in the radius. Abnormal hoof balance apparently had no lasting effect on compressive forces running through the limb, and the natural situation of higher compressive strain medially was restored quickly.

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