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Tendon problems horse

Tendon problems horse

Horse tendon and ligament problems

These conditions can become progressively worse such as ligament problems with navicular disease or tendon problems worsen suddenly, like a tendon slap.

In most cases there has been an imbalance in the horse for a long time, causing the tendon and ligament tissue to weaken and causing tendon problems in the horse. Also, because the tissues of the tendon and ligaments cannot be seen on X-rays (but with ultrasound or MRI), a lot of damage has usually already occurred when the horse starts to walk with limp.

Band and tendon tissue is poorly supplied with blood and therefore heals slowly. Thanks to the holistic approach, this process runs better and faster, also because in this way the formation of scar tissue is prevented as much as possible.

Tendon injuries in horses

We regularly see tendon injuries in horses. It is important to take the right steps at such a time and to keep the body in optimal condition in order to recover as quickly as possible. And it is just as important to prevent a possible subsequent injury. We do this by treating the horse with a holistic vision: looking at the horse as a totality and looking for the cause of the injury in the event of overload.

Many tendon injuries occur on the flexor tendons of the front legs. The following tendons are present there:

  • superficial and deep flexor tendon
  • the check ligament
  • the intermediate tendon.

Most tendons in the body are the interface between muscles and bones. A tendon consists of bundles made up of tendon fibers. The tendon fibers are interconnected by a connecting substance (collagen). In several places the tendon is surrounded by a tendon sheath filled with “lubricating fluid” (synovia).

There are very few blood vessels within the tendon, which limits the supply of nutrients and the removal of waste products. This explains why tendon damage often heals slowly.


Tendonitis is the result of a tearing of individual tendon fibers. Usually this is caused by (long-term) overload. Small tears (micro trauma) in the tendon tissue often recover on their own, but if too many and too often tears occur, greater trauma (macro trauma) and inflammation follows.

The horse is then more or less visibly lame and there is a soft, warm swelling. Injuries can also occur because the horse taps itself with the hind legs, the so-called tendon slap. This causes an injury to the outside of the superficial flexor tendon. The horse can also suffer acute trauma if, for example, he stumbles.


There are certain circumstances in which a horse is more likely to sustain a tendon injury. Some examples are:
  • abnormal build and position of the feet and legs
  • back pain
  • skewness of the body
  • ill-fitting saddle
  • improper trimming / horseshoes
  • improper training
  • poor soil quality

In order to recover and prevent a tendon injury, it is very important to assess and optimize all of these conditions.


The diagnosis can often be made on the basis of the history, complaint and clinical symptoms such as a swollen and painful tendon. In some cases, a tendon ultrasound will be done. In most cases this is best done after a minimum of 10 days.

Treatment from our point of view

The treatment of a tendon injury consists for the most part of rest and good rehabilitation. During the acute phase, when the tendon is contracted and warm, regular cooling is important for inhibiting the inflammatory response and stimulating blood flow. When the first acute symptoms of inflammation have disappeared, you can start with slow movement (steps) on a hard floor and possibly a flat, resilient floor. Usually it will be advised to do this first for a period and later under the man. It is important in this period that not too much work is offered, but gradually more.

As mentioned before, a cause of a tendon injury is often long-term overload. Overload can, among other things, arise from skews in the body. In most cases we will also advise to treat the horse for this with osteopathy and chiropractic so that the strain on the tendon can be kept to a minimum.

There is an energetic connection between weak tendons and, among other things, a low liver energy, which makes it useful to treat an injury through acupuncture and to administer supporting herbs if necessary. We often see that the recovery is gaining momentum.

When the whole body is assessed and treated for a tendon injury and factors that have a negative influence are tackled, the chance of recurrence is often reduced. In addition to treating the possible cause, we will also support the tendon locally with a spreadable external agent if necessary.

If you have any questions about our treatment methods, please do not hesitate to contact us Contact us.

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