The stifle is the largest joint of that allows the horse to move forward. Any horse can sustain an injury to the stifle as it is a high mobile joint. The injury can occur as a result of a fall whilst jumping or as a result of cumulative injuries over a period of time resulting in arthritis of the joint.
Symptoms can be as mild as a minor lame and can become worse progressively if left untreated. Other symptoms may include inflammation, swelling, soreness and tenderness in the area. The horse’s hind leg may also appear stiff causing the horse to drag his or her leg.
A variety of diagnostic tests are available to ascertain the extent of the injury. Most commonly
x-rays can detect any fractures or arthritis in the joint. Diagnostic ultrasound is also a useful diagnostic tool. Specialized equine hospitals or equine facilities may have a CT scan or MRI available as diagnostic tools.
Sometimes an arthroscopic procedure using a camera may be necessary to confirm the seriousness of the injury. The most common injury in the stifle area occurs in the meniscus.
It is important for the horse to be examined by an equine Veterinarian to assess the extent of the injury and to develop an appropriate treatment protocol.
After taking a comprehensive history and performing a thorough clinical examination the Veterinarian may recommend intra-articular therapy (stifle injections). The Veterinarian may also order a complete blood test to check for mineral or vitamin deficiencies and may recommend joint supplements to improve joint flexibility.
In addition to all of the above treatments the equine Veterinarian may recommend Kinesiology taping to support the stifle area and assist with healing.
KINESIOLOGY TAPING FOR HORSES:
Applying kinesiology tapes around the stifle joint may be difficult as the tape may not adhere to the area. It is important to have a stronger adhesive tape for horses in order for the tape to adhere properly and to last longer. It is very rewarding to see the horse’s gait improve after using a combination of therapies.
• The stifle is a very large area and it is necessary to use a 10 cm/4 inch tape with extra strength glue to ensure the tape sticks.
• Clean the area with alcohol and brush lightly to remove debris.
• Wipe the area dry and then apply two I-strips with a 25% stretch in the mid section to form an X with the centre of the X over the stifle joint.
• Apply a third 10 cm/4 inch I-strip on top of the centre of the X. The third I-strip must be applied with a 50% stretch to add mechanical support and help anchor the stifle joint. See picture below.
• Remove the tape after 24 hours and re-apply for three days or until the joint is more flexible and the horse’s gate improves.
The tapes from Therapeutic Tapes + Bandages are specifically engineered for Veterinarian use and sticks better and lasts longer. A part of the proceeds from the sale of our tapes will be donated to Veterinarians Without Borders.