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Summary: Looking for force plate data for equine gait

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  • Summary: Looking for force plate data for equine gait

    Two weeks ago I posted the following message to the BIOMCH-L group.

    A group of colleagues and I are trying to find an estimate for the
    torsional moments acting on equine tibia during normal gait for use in
    mechanical testing of a new fracture fixation device. We have estimated
    this moment (95 Nm) through calculations using published shear strain data
    acquired on a single horse. This value seems high to me and I would like
    to be able to verify it. The best option would seem to be to find some 6-
    dof force plate data for equine gait. Unfortunately the only published
    data that we have found is 1 or 2 dof. If anyone has such data or could
    point us to an appropriate reference it would be much appreciated. Thanks
    in advance. As usual I'll summarize and post replies.

    I would like to thank all those that took the time to reply, especially Dr.
    Henk C. Schamhardt who is attempting to provide me with the data that I need.

    Thanks to all,


    ______Reply #1________________________________________________ ____

    Please contact John Bertram at Cornell University School of Veterinary
    in Ithaca N.Y. at He might be able to help you.

    Mike Coleman

    ______Reply #2________________________________________________ __________

    I suggest you contact Charlie DeCamp at Michigan State University, College
    of Veterinary Medicine. I believe they have an AMTI 6 load component
    force plate in one of their buildings and have collected force plate data
    on horses as they run through the building. Dr. DeCamp may have the joint
    torques available for you. Sincerely,

    Brock Horsley
    Clinical Biomechanist
    Mary Free Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Center
    Grand Rapids, MI

    ______Reply #3________________________________________________ ____________

    just a couple of considerations, I am not sure if they are relevant to you.
    First of all: I have no experience with horses, but considering the 20 to
    40 Nm torques acting on the human femur during gait and stairclimbing
    (Crowninshield + Bergmann), I wouldn't consider 95 Nm to be too high in a
    horse. (Of course your torque estimate will depend also on the Young
    modulus you used...).

    Conversely, I am not sure if you can measure that torque "externally", with
    a force plate, as this would not allow you to include the effect of the
    muscle forces.

    Hope this helps. Kindest regards.

    Luca Cristofolini
    Laboratorio di Tecnologia dei Materiali tel. 39-(0)51-6366864
    Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli fax. 39-(0)51-6366863
    Via di Barbiano 1/10
    40136 Bologna, Italy

    ______Reply #4________________________________________________ ___________

    Have you found any papers by Cal Kobluk, DVM? He was doing treadmill and
    force plate studies on racehorses at the University of Minnesota in the late
    1980's, and is probably still doing this kind of work. I don't know of any
    specific references, but if you look him up you will probably find some
    useful information.

    Jennifer L. Pavlovic, Ph.D., P.E.
    HCMC Orthopaedic Biomechanics Lab
    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    ______Reply #5________________________________________________ _________

    I saw your posting on biomech-l looking for 6-dof force plate data. There
    was an INRA conference on animal locomotion that took place in France this
    past May. I have a listing of the presentations and some of them look
    like they could be helpful to you. Unfortunately, I don't know where/if
    these articles have been published, but you could contact the chairman of
    the conference (Eric Barrey, The
    presentations which might help are:

    Estimation of Horse's Movement Biomechanics Using a Dynamographic Plate
    Jackowski, M.

    Timing and Distribution of Strains on the Equine Metacarpus
    Davies, H. M.

    Joint Moments and Power in the Equine Forelimb
    Colborne, G. R.

    I hope this information is helpful to you. I am also interested in equine
    biomechanics. Would you mind writing back and telling me a little about
    the work you are doing there? Thanks.

    Missy Shettlemore
    Biomedical Engineering
    Tulane University

    ______Reply #6a_______________________________________________ _____________

    Here in Utrecht, The Netherlands, we spent quite some time collecting GRF-data
    of horses, at the walk, trot, canter and during jumping. As a matter of
    fact, we did not report on transverse forces, because these appeared to be
    rather inconsistent, and relatively low. However, as you mentioned
    correctly, these might be responisble for quite some torsional moment acting
    on the tibia.
    Digging around in some of our data, I ran into the full 3D GRF data of our
    "standard horse" (the average data of 20 normal Dutch Warmbloods), at the
    trot and the canter, and of jumping data of 5 horses. The following data
    were found for the peak GRF in transverse direction:
    trot: 0.28 N/kg
    canter: 0.20 or 0.51 N/kg (leading vs. non-leading limb)
    jumping: 0.12 - 0.55 N/kg

    Our horses had a body mass of about 600 kg. Estimating the height of the
    Tarsus above the ground to be 0.6 m, the resulting torsional moment is about
    0.28 x 600 x 0.6 = 169 N.m at the trot, or almost 300 N.m during jumping. I
    realize myself that this calculation is kind of simple, but it seems to be
    not completely unrealistic. Your values of just below 100 N.m seem not too
    high, or might even be an underestimation.

    If you should like to obtain more detailed data, please let me know.

    Hopefully, this information is of any help.

    Henk C. Schamhardt, PhD
    Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
    Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.157, NL-3508 TD Utrecht
    The Netherlands
    phone: int+31-30-2534325/2534336 FAX: int+31-30-2516853

    ______Reply #6b_______________________________________________ _____________

    you wrote:
    >you sent me is very useful but there is one load missing. If there is any
    >moment occuring about the vertical axis during the stance phase of the gait
    >cycle, then this load will also have a torsional component about the tibia.
    > Could you easily provide me with a value for this moment?

    Easily: no, I have to check the computer in the lab, which is about 300 m
    away from my office. Might take a little while. In the mean time, I will
    also check the walking data.

    >In going through the calculations that you sent me you neglected to
    >multiply by the value of .6 which brings the estimated moment down to 100.8
    >Nm at a trot. Since the tibia is not horizontal during the stance phase
    >but rather at an angle of approximately 45 degrees, this result can be
    >multiplied by the cosine of 45 degrees (to differentiate the load
    >components causing torsion vs. bending) producing an estimated moment of
    >71.3 Nm. This does indicate that our estimate from the strain data is not

    Two times stupid from my side: you are completely right! Note, however, that
    the tibia is almost vertical at the beginning of the stance phase, and
    considerably more close to horizontal at the end. Furthermore, there is also
    an out-of-plane component: the hocks are more close to eachother than the
    stifles. A more detailed guestimation (what about this Dutch addition to the
    English language!?) requires a full 3D-model. Possibly, the stamp becomes
    more expensive than the letter then, as we are used to say.

    One final comment, I forgot to mention yesterday: are you aware of the use
    of the so-called walking cast in horses? Basically this is a steel loop,
    fixed with transcutaneous pins through the bone proximal to the place where
    it is damaged, running underneath the hoof. After application, the whole
    thing is wrapped in plaster. In some in vitro experiments it was confirmed,
    that this system unloaded the distal part of the limb for about 90%. If you
    want to obtain more detailed information, please contact my colleague
    Wim Back. He is vet. surgeon at the Department of General and Large Animal
    Surgery. His e-mail address is:

    I will come back to you with some more data a.s.a.p.

    Henk C. Schamhardt, PhD
    Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
    Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.157, NL-3508 TD Utrecht
    The Netherlands
    phone: int+31-30-2534325/2534336 FAX: int+31-30-2516853

    ______End of Replies___________________________________________ ______________