OBJECTIVE: To report a method of evaluating 3-dimensional joint motion in dogs with a stifle orthosis.
STUDY DESIGN: Experimental.
ANIMALS: Six healthy dogs.
METHODS: Three-dimensional pelvic limb joint motion was recorded with and without a stifle orthosis. Kinematic data were collected from dogs at a walk and trot for the hip, stifle, and tarsus prior to, and after application of, a stifle orthosis. Data were also obtained for the orthosis alone. Comparisons were made between the braced and unbraced limb, and between the braced limb and the orthosis alone. Complete waveforms, kinematic, and temporospatial variables were compared.
RESULTS: Gait waveforms differed between braced and unbraced limbs for all joints and planes of motion (P < .05), as well as between the braced stifles and the orthosis alone at both a walk and trot. However, joint ROM was inconsistently altered. The effect of bracing on stifle ROM was limited to a reduced extension at the end of stance. Adjacent joint ROM was affected by the stifle orthosis. Temporospatial variables were predominantly affected while walking.
CONCLUSIONS: The restrictive motion of the stifle orthosis is not fully translated to the underlying joint, based on the limited differences between the motion of braced and unbraced stifles. This effect varies with plane of motion and phase of the gait cycle, with most changes in stifle motion being detected during the stance phase. The stifle orthosis had an equal or greater effect on the motion of adjacent joints, especially the tarsus.