Application of a Hall-effect transducer for measurement of tendon strains in horses

Am J Vet Res. 1989 Jul;50(7):1089-95.


Custom-designed Hall-effect strain sensors (HES) were implanted surgically onto the superficial digital flexor tendons of the forelimbs of 4 adult Thoroughbreds. Strains were recorded at various gaits, using a portable amplifer and FM cassette recorder. Strain calculations used the original length (L) as the HES position with the forelimb in the relaxed neutral position during anesthesia. A characteristic deflection in the strain cycle recording was confirmed to correspond to initial hoof contact with the ground (heel strike) by simultaneous recording of weight bearing via a footswitch. Heel strike was used as the reference point to determine the magnitude of strain change during weight bearing and nonweight bearing under various conditions. The weight-bearing strains (heel strike to maximal strain) recorded in 2 horses (with a rider) were 3.1% and 7.6% at the walk, 6.5% and 10.1% at the trot, and 11.5% and 16.6% at the gallop. Strain rate during tendon loading at the gallop was approximately 200%/s. The magnitude of strain change during nonweight bearing (minimal strain to heel strike) was smaller than during weight bearing, but also increased with faster gaits. In 3 horses led at the walk and trot, modest increases in hoof angle (baseline 52 degrees) resulted in small increases in the magnitude of strain change during weight bearing at the trot, but the magnitude of strain change at the walk was not affected. Results of the study indicated that the HES can be successfully adapted to provide continuous strain measurement without subjective signs of discomfort or lameness in horses during or after instrumentation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Forelimb
  • Gait*
  • Hoof and Claw
  • Horses / physiology*
  • Prostheses and Implants / veterinary
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tendons / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Transducers