Tendons and ligaments are dense bands of fibrous tissue composed mainly of collagen. Tendons connect muscle to bone, while ligaments connect bone to bone. The flexor tendons run down the back of the leg from the knee to the foot and their role is to flex the fetlock and the digit joints. The suspensory ligament lies at the back of the cannon bone, deeper than the flexor tendons, and stretches from the back of the knee to the sesamoid bones in the fetlock. The suspensory ligament provides support for the fetlock, preventing extreme over-extension.
Tendon and ligament strains and sprains commonly occur in the lower limbs of horses, particularly amongst those that compete. Tendons and ligaments below the knee are must susceptible to injury and include the superficial digital flexor tendon, the deep digital flexor tendon, the accessory ligaments and the suspensory ligament.
Injuries usually result from excessive loading and overstretching, but may also be due to a direct blow to the tendon area. Clinical signs of tendon and ligament strains include swelling, pain, heat and lameness.
Can Equissage help?
Equissage is a proven therapeutic tool to aid in the healing of tendon and ligament injuries – that is why it is present in the yards of so many racehorse trainers, event, dressage and show-jumping riders.
The deep circulatory massage reaches all parts of the leg resulting in creasing local blood and lymphatic circulation, thus reducing inflammation (swelling) easing tired and stretched muscles and aiding mobility of affected joints. And of course the same massaging effect actually tones (and so strengthens) fibres.
(Strains can occur to any part of the horse’s limbs so a whole list of specific injuries could be listed here so the heading is a generalisation to indicate the range of conditions Equissage can assist with.)
Use the Leg Boot on the outside of the affected leg (with the rubber cap against the joint if this is the target area). Turn on for a couple of minutes on a low speed and then turn up to at least a medium speed for 5-10 minutes. Ideally treat twice daily until the condition has healed.
Point to Note:
The Equissage Pad should also be used as part of the warming up and warming down routines particularly with horses that are more prone to leg problems so that muscles and ligaments are eased and warmed through prior to exercise and then also properly relaxed prior to the horse being stabled or turned out.