Therapeutic farriery is part of the management of certain orthopaedic conditions. Non-podal parameters are important as most horses shod with therapeutic shoes are expected to perform again and the choice of shoe type may be influenced by the effects they may have on gait. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the effects of three different shoe designs and unshod front feet on forelimb non-podal kinematic variables using an extremity mounted inertial measurement unit (IMU) system under conditions of treadmill and overground exercise on a soft geotextile surface at the trot. Ten sound horses with no underlying orthopaedic problem were instrumented with eight IMUs at distal radii, tibia and third metacarpal/tarsal regions. Measurements were performed during four consecutive days. During the first three days, the three shoe types were randomly selected per horse and day. On the fourth day, all horses were tested unshod. Data were collected at the trot on a treadmill, and on a soft geotextile surface. Specifically designed software and a proprietary algorithm processed the accelerometer and gyroscope signals to obtain orientation and temporal data to describe selected kinematic variables predetermined by the system. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to assess differences between shoe type and surface. The presence of shoes produced significant changes in spatiotemporal variables which seemed to be related to shoe mass rather than shoe design as there were no significant differences found between different shoe types. Shod horses showed a gait characterised by an increased range of motion (ROM) of the fore limbs. Previously reported effects of the investigated shoes on podal kinematics do not seem to affect the investigated kinematic variables indicating perhaps a compensatory effect occurring at some level in the extremity.
- gait analysis
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Contributors AMC and UEM conceptualised the idea, designed, performed and analysed the experiment and reviewed and approved the manuscript. BV performed the analysis and contributed to experimental design as well as reviewed and approved the manuscript and wrote the statistical aspects of the manuscript. JCS contributed to the experiment conception and design, wrote and approved the manuscript and performed the experiments. AR contributed with the initial concept, performed the experiments and reviewed and approved the manuscript.
Funding This study was supported by the Institute suisse du médicine équine.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Ethics approval The experiment was approved by the Animal Health and Welfare Commission of the Canton of Vaud and followed institutional guidelines for humane animal treatment (approval number VD3087; date of approval 11 February 2016).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement There is not unpublished data from the study. All other data are published and available to all.
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