The influence of boot design on temperature of tendons
Tendon boots are commonly used to protect the horses limbs from trauma or injury. There are many different types of boots worn during competition, however, the use of these boots may increase heat stress to soft tissue. The aim of this study was therefore to measure heat emitted from two different boots (closed and novel-air perforated boots) after controlled exercise and to measure the effect of boot style on tendon skin surface temperature following a field test.
Two seperated studies were carried out, one using a controlled exercise test and the other a field test. For the controlled exercise test a total of four horses were used. Heat emitted from fully closed and novel-air perforated boots were measured with a infrared thermometer both after a ridden and a lunged exercise test. For the field test a total of 130 horses were used to measure the effect of traditional (fully closed), perforated (using holes or perforations) and open fronted boots on skin surface temperature after completing a cross-country test.
Results showed that boots with perforations showed a greater heat emission compared to fully closed boots after the controlled exercise test. Results of the field test showed that skin surface temperature for perforated type boots (28 degrees Celsius) was significantly lower compared to traditional boots (32.3 degrees Celsius) and open fronted boots (31.1 degrees Celsius). However, environmental factors could have influenced results in the field study. Authors concluded that using tendon boots minimising tendon exposure to high temperatures is advisable to prevent possible tendon injury.
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Expert opinion by Debby Gudden
Recent studies have found that boots have an effect on skin and tendon temperature during exercise. Yet, it is still to be determined whether that increase in leg temperature is positive or negative for tendons and what the link is with tendon injuries. On the other side, tendon boots help protect the horses limbs from injuries such as hoof strikes or collisions with jumps. Therefore, it is advisable to use perforated boots to allow for air to cool the leg and to provide sufficient protection for the tendons.
> From: Hopegood et al., Comp Exerc Physiol 9 (2013) 147-152. All rights reserved to Wageningen Academic Publishers. Click here for the online summary.