Associations of force plate and body-mounted inertial sensor measurements for identification of hind limb lameness in horses

Bell RP, Reed SK, Schoonover MJ, Whitfield CT, Yonezawa Y, Maki H, Pai PF, Keegan KG. Am J Vet Res. 2016 Apr; 77 (4): 337-45.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate associations between inertial sensor and stationary force plate measurements of hind limb lameness in horses. ANIMALS 21 adult horses with no lameness or with mild hind limb lameness.

PROCEDURES: Horses were instrumented with inertial sensors and evaluated for lameness with a stationary force plate while trotting in a straight line. Inertial sensor-derived measurements of maximum and minimum pelvic height differences between right and left halves of the stride were compared with vertical and horizontal ground reaction forces (GRFs). Stepwise linear regression was performed to investigate the strength of association between inertial sensor measurements of hind limb lameness and amplitude, impulse, and time indices of important events in the vertical and horizontal GRF patterns.

RESULTS: Difference in minimum pelvic position was moderately (Ra(2) = 0.60) associated with the difference in peak vertical GRF but had little association with any horizontal GRF measurements. Difference in maximum pelvic position was strongly (Ra(2) = 0.77) associated with a transfer of vertical to horizontal ground reaction impulse in the second half of the stance but was not associated with difference in peak vertical GRF.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Inertial sensor-derived measurements of asymmetric pelvic fall (difference in minimum pelvic position) indicated a decrease in vertical GRF, but similar measurements of asymmetric pelvis rise (difference in maximum pelvic position) indicated a transfer of vertical to horizontal force impulse in the second half of the stance. Evaluation of both pelvic rise and fall may be important when assessing hind limb lameness in horses.