Objective - To determine whether partial transection of the medial branch of the suspensory ligament (MBSL) alters equine third metacarpal bone (MC3) condylar surface strains and forelimb, distal joint angles in a manner consistent with promotion of lateral condylar fracture. Study Design - In vitro biomechanical experiment. Sample Population - Right forelimbs from 7 Thoroughbred horse cadavers. Methods - Lateral and medial MC3 condylar, dorsal and abaxial, bone surface strains and distal joint angles were measured both before and after partial transection of the MBSL during in vitro axial limb compression. Dorsal, principal bone strains and abaxial, uniaxial, and proximodistal strains were compared before and after MBSL partial transection at 1,400-, 3,000-, and 5,600-N loads. Results - Bone strains increased in all locations with increasing axial load. All lateral condylar bone strains were significantly higher, and abaxial surface medial condylar bone strain was significantly lower, after partial transection of the MBSL. Respective distal joints became more flexed or extended as axial load increased but were not significantly different after partial transection of the MBSL. Conclusions - Partial transection of the MBSL increases in vitro MC3 lateral condylar bone surface strains. Clinical Relevance - Loss of integrity of the medial branch of the suspensory ligament could increase the risk for lateral condylar fracture in Thoroughbred horses by amplifying bone strain in the lateral condyle.
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