EQUUS Pop Quiz: Tendon Troubles

How much do you know about what stresses the critical connectors between your horse's muscle and bone? Take this test to find out.

Question:Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone, transmitting muscular effort into skeletal motion. Normally, they are plenty strong enough to withstand the loading of each stride. But injured tendons do not heal well. Inflammation subsides slowly and scarring proliferates, sometimes leading to permanent lameness. A rider’s choice of riding techniques and conditions can have critical effects on tendon health. Which of the following situations raise(s) the risk for tendon injury?

a. sudden increase in performance demandb. uneven footingc. deep or muddy footingd. sudden, jolting stops

Answer: All of the above. Tendons not sufficiently strengthened by progressive training are unable to withstand upward leaps in work demand. Uneven and slippery footing sets the stage for missteps, while deep going greatly increases the workload of the tendons. Finally, hard, jolting stops override the limbs’ shock-absorbing system to the detriment of the tendons. Whatever the specific source of the strain may be, the breakdown of tendon fibers and resulting inflammation are the common causes of tendon failure.


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