Evaluation of equine superficial digital flexor tendon lesions

Holly Bradshaw
Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tendon injuries are commonplace in the equine athlete and are reported to be one of the most prevalent forms of musculoskeletal injuries occurring in horses competing in all disciplines. The superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) is the more commonly injured of the flexor tendons, accounting for 75–93% of clinical cases; research suggests that lesions typically occur at the mid-metacarpal level in the ‘core’ or central region of the SDFT.Aims and objectives:The aim of this research was to increase knowledge regarding the susceptibility to injury of specific topographical regions within the SDFT, and to identify any relationship between topographical location and lesion severity to laterality and the equestrian discipline the subjects competed in.Method:Secondary data were ultrasound scans from the forelimb SDFTs of horses (n =100) presenting with primary ‘core’ lesions. Topographical location, percentage distribution of the lesion entirety and the echogenicity of lesions were ascertained and graded. Statistical analysis identified if any significant differences were present between discipline competed in and right and left forelimb lesion severity within the population.Results:No significant differences were exposed between competitive discipline or right and left forelimb lesions severity (p >0.05). Lesions that present in the mid-metacarpal region of the SDFT comprised the greater percentage of the total clinical lesion and exhibited higher echogenicity scores, suggesting they were more severe in nature.Conclusions:The study confirmed that the mid-metacarpal region of the SDFT exhibited more severe legions in comparison with the proximal and distal regions; however, no differences between disciplines or with reference to laterality were observed. Although these results can only be applied to this population, they suggest that ultrasonographic evaluation of topography and echogenicity translated to severity scores can aid in the diagnosis of tendon pathology and subjects’ subsequent rehabilitation regimen.

Evaluation of equine superficial digital flexor tendon lesions
Evaluation of equine superficial digital flexor tendon lesions

Subscribe to get full access to The Veterinary Nurse

Thank you for vising The Veterinary nurse and reading our archive of expert clinical content. If you would like to read more from the leading peer-reviewed journal for veterinary nurses, you can start your subscription today for just £26.

Subscribing will enable you to:

  • Stay up-to-date with current thinking and best practice in veterinary medicine
  • Enhance your knowledge and understanding of all key clinical topics
  • Achieve the mandatory requirement of 45 hours' documented CPD over a three-year period
Subscribe now

Already registered? - Sign in here

Download Now

Keep up to date with The Veterinary Nurse!

Sign up to The Veterinary Nurse's regular newsletters and keep up-to-date with the very latest clinical research and CPD we publish each month.