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Acta Anat (Basel). 1993;146(2-3):162-7.

In vivo tendon forces in the forelimb of ponies at the walk, validated by ground reaction force measurements.

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Biomechanics Research Group, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The load distribution over tendinous structures in the equine forelimb was studied by computing forces from in vivo signals of implanted liquid-metal strain gauges in 5 ponies. For validation, these tendon forces were converted to joint moments, which were summed and compared to the calculated joint moments caused by the ground reaction force. Mean peak forces per kilogram body weight (n = 5) amounted to 5.2 N/kg for the superficial digital flexor tendon, 3.8 N/kg for the deep digital flexor tendon, 7.3 N/kg for the distal accessory (check) ligament and 8.4 N/kg for the third interosseous muscle (suspensory ligament). The maximal moment exerted by the tendons about the fetlock joint differed 11 +/- 7% (average +/- SD, n = 5) from the maximal ground reaction force moment, which difference amounted to 17 +/- 15% for the coffin joint moments. These differences appeared to result to a substantial extent from errors in the moment arms. Therefore, the computed tendon forces were considered to be sufficiently reliable.

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