Bone stress in the horse forelimb during locomotion at different gaits: a comparison of two experimental methods


Biewener AA, Thomason J, Goodship A, Lanyon LE. Bone stress in the horse forelimb during locomotion at different gaits: a comparison of two experimental methods. J BiomechJ BiomechJ Biomech. 1983;16 :565-76.


Longitudinal stresses acting in the cranial and caudal cortices of the radius and the dorsal and palmar cortices of the metacarpus in the horse were determined using two independent methods simultaneously. One approach involved the use of rosette strain gauges to record in vivo bone strain; the other involved filming the position of the horse's forelimb as it passed over a force plate. Agreement between the two analyses was better for the radius than for the metacarpus. Both methods showed the radius to be loaded primarily in sagittal bending, acting to place the caudal cortex in compression and the cranial cortex in tension. At each gait the magnitude of peak stress in each cortex based on the film/force analysis was 1.5-2 times higher than that determined from the bone strain recordings. In the metacarpus, the magnitude of stress in each cortex calculated from the film/force method was 2-3 times greater at each gait than that shown by the bone strain recordings. However, whereas the film/force analysis indicated that the metacarpus was loaded in sagittal bending (acting to place the palmar cortex in compression and the dorsal cortex in tension), the bone strain recordings showed the metacarpus to be loaded primarily in axial compression at each gait. Because the film/force method depends on an accurate measure of limb segment orientation relative to the direction of ground reaction force, comparatively small errors in calculations of bending moments may lead to a significant difference in the level and distribution of stress determined to act in the bone's cortices. The discrepancy in metacarpal loading obtained by the two methods may be explained in part by the simplicity of the biomechanical model which, for instance, neglected the force exerted by the sesamoids on the distal end of the metacarpus. The records of stress determined from the in vivo bone strain recordings showed that each bone was subjected to a consistent loading regime despite changes of gait. Such a consistent strain distribution should allow these bones to maximize economy in the use of tissue required to support the dynamic loads applied. Peak stresses measured from the bone strain recordings in the radius during locomotion at constant speed (-40.8 +/- 4.1 MN m-2) were significantly larger than those in the metacarpus (-25.1 +/- 2.8 MN m-2), regardless of speed and gait. During acceleration and deceleration, however, peak stress rose dramatically in the metacarpus (-40.6 +/- 3.4 MN m-2) but remained constant in the radius (-37.8 +/- 5.8 MN m-2).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)


Biewener, A AThomason, JGoodship, ALanyon, L EengAM18140/AM/NIADDK NIH HHS/T32GM07117-04/GM/NIGMS NIH HHS/Comparative StudyResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tResearch Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.1983/01/01J Biomech. 1983;16(8):565-76.