Background: Bones continually adapt their morphology to their load bearing function. At the level of the subchondral bone, the density distribution is highly correlated with the loading distribution of the joint. Therefore, subchondral bone density distribution can be used to study joint biomechanics non-invasively. In addition physiological and pathological joint loading is an important aspect of orthopaedic disease, and research focusing on joint biomechanics will benefit veterinary orthopaedics. This study was conducted to evaluate density distribution in the subchondral bone of the canine talus, as a parameter reflecting the long-term joint loading in the tarsocrural joint.
Results: Two main density maxima were found, one proximally on the medial trochlear ridge and one distally on the lateral trochlear ridge. All joints showed very similar density distribution patterns and no significant differences were found in the localisation of the density maxima between left and right limbs and between dogs.
Conclusions: Based on the density distribution the lateral trochlear ridge is most likely subjected to highest loads within the tarsocrural joint. The joint loading distribution is very similar between dogs of the same breed. In addition, the joint loading distribution supports previous suggestions of the important role of biomechanics in the development of OC lesions in the tarsus. Important benefits of computed tomographic osteoabsorptiometry (CTOAM), i.e. the possibility of in vivo imaging and temporal evaluation, make this technique a valuable addition to the field of veterinary orthopaedic research.
Keywords: CTOAM; Dog; Joint loading; Osteochondrosis; Subchondral bone; Talus.