Tufts University Researchers Test Novel Leg Wear to Limit Fetlock Extension

Two papers presented by researchers at Tufts University report on the testing of a novel, adjustable, hinged brace to limit extension of the fetlock during exercise.

The device is designed to variably limit joint extension while animals are rehabilitating from a fetlock joint or support tendon problem. The apparatus was tested on six horses at rest in a stall and at the walk, trot and canter on a treadmill, as well as at a walk and trot over a force plate.

Significantly higher peak load and torque were measured in the brace as it was adjusted to be more restrictive and as speeds increased on the treadmill. Peak vertical ground reaction forces, however, remained largely unchanged. There were minimal adverse effects of the brace on the hair and skin of the fetlock region under the brace.

These results suggest that the brace is safe and incrementally capable of reducing fetlock extension thereby transferring load within the tendons and ligaments that support the flexor apparatus to the brace itself. This new design could be a valuable tool for the controlled rehabilitation of fetlock injuries.

— Pugliese BR et al. and St George LB et al. AJVR;82:39-47 and 48-54

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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