Reasons for performing study: Advances in gait analysis techniques have led to assessment tools that can aid in detecting and quantifying lameness; here, bilateral tuberà coxae and pelvic movement during over ground locomotion are compared in order to investigate a practical method to assess hindlimb lameness in the horse.
Objectives: To evaluate which parameters from anatomical landmarks on trunk and proximal hindlimbs are the best indicators of degree and side of hindlimb lameness.
Methods: Fifteen horses (age 11–23 years, 6 nonlame and 9 unilaterally hindlimb lame horses 1/10 to 2/10 lame) were fitted with 4 inertial sensors: tuber sacrale, left and right tubera coxae and withers; 889 strides were collected from 6 trot trials per horse. Horses were assessed for lameness by a qualified equine orthopaedic surgeon from videos. Vertical displacement data for each sensor were used to calculate symmetry indices as well as published Fourier analysis based parameters. Linear discriminant analysis was used to determine the most discriminative parameters for 2 scenarios: grading of severity of lameness and identification of the affected limb.
Results: Pelvic energy ratio gave the best indication for the degree of lameness. Directional symmetry index of the tubera coxae sensors yielded the highest discriminative power for identification of the lame limb.
Conclusions and potential relevance: A good indication of the degree of hindlimb lameness can be obtained from vertical displacement data of the pelvic midline, collected from inertial sensors during over ground locomotion. The trunk mounted inertial sensor system allows for a time efficient collection of a representative database from horses with differing grade and site of lameness in a clinical setting. This is crucial for future work on a robust definition of the best parameters for lameness classification under practical conditions.