Hind End (Haunches) Pain in The Horse
The haunches of a horse have a primary role in propulsion in all riding disciplines. The large muscles of the hind end act as the motor of the horse to generate propulsive forces. These large muscles attach to the bony skeleton of the horse primarily at the croup, stifle, and hock.
When these mover muscles are active repetitively during training they develop inflammation at the point where the tendon inserts onto the bone. This inflammation is called an enthesopathy. The same event occurs in humans and is called a tendonitis. Many of us have experienced: tennis elbow (elbow pain), rotator cuff tendonitis (shoulder pain), carpal tunnel (wrist pain and nusmbness), patellar tendonitis (front of knee pain), Achilles tendonitis (ankle pain).
So why is it that we treat our own tendonitis but we dismiss the overuse tendonitis of our equine athletes. The key here is identification of the pain. Often these sites of pain are near the joints and are treated with joint injections and equine anti-inflammatory medication. This helps our horses pain but does not treat the underlying reason for the pain.
Commonly joint injections and medication provide temporary relief for our equine athletes but the pain returns with return to work and if the medications are not continued.
What Can We Do?!?!
We can treat our horses by: using cold therapy to reduce inflammation after work, providing a good warm up for muscle and tendons, stretching and preparing muscles for work.
Once a rider identifies where the pain is coming from a home program can be developed to prevent tendonitis/enthesopathies from affecting your training program.
Remember that athletes warm up, stretch, ice inflamed tendons, and use supplements and medication as needed.
Follow up posts will address techniques for proper cold therapy, stretching, warm ups and more.
For an individual consultation contact CORE Equine & Physical Therapy for an appointment.
Honor your horse as an athlete! – Dr. Robyn