Objective - To determine the distribution of force between the articular surfaces of the humerus and radius and between the humerus and ulna in normal canine forelimbs. Sample population - 12 cadaveric canine right forelimbs. Procedure - Transarticular force maps were created by placing a tactile array pressure sensor into the elbow joint cavity and loading cadaveric forelimbs in a materials testing system. Mean joint forces were determined at loads of 50, 100, 150, and 200 N. Results - All tests produced 2 distinct areas of high load that corresponded with the proximal articular surfaces of the radius and ulna. Mean forces for the radial proximal articular surface were slightly but significantly greater than for the ulna, averaging 51% to 52% of total force for all applied loads. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - The proximal articular surface of the ulna contributes substantially to load transfer through the canine elbow joint. Abnormalities, which increase this load, might contribute to canine elbow joint dysplasia, specifically fragmentation of the medial coronoid process and osteochondritis dissecans of the medial aspect of the humeral condyle. In the treatment of these conditions, the normal force distribution within the canine elbow joint should be taken into consideration.
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