DESCRIPTIVE CLINICAL REPORT
Soft tissue injuries of the tarsocrural joint: A retrospective analysis of 30 cases evaluated arthroscopically
Article first published online: 23 NOV 2012
© 2012 EVJ Ltd
Equine Veterinary Journal
Volume 45, Issue 4, pages 435–441, July 2013
How to Cite
Barker, W. H. J., Smith, M. R. W., Minshall, G. J. and Wright, I. M. (2013), Soft tissue injuries of the tarsocrural joint: A retrospective analysis of 30 cases evaluated arthroscopically. Equine Veterinary Journal, 45: 435–441. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2012.00685.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 23 NOV 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 4 OCT 2012 08:25AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 10 APR 2012
- tarsocrural joint;
- collateral ligament;
- joint capsule;
Reasons for performing the study
Intra-articular soft tissue injuries of the equine tarsocrural joint have been poorly defined.
All horses that underwent arthroscopic surgery of a tarsocrural joint over a 10 year period were identified. Those with primary intra-articular soft tissue injuries were selected for inclusion and the cases evaluated retrospectively.
Two hundred and eighty-one horses underwent tarsocrural joint arthroscopy during the study period, 30 of which met the inclusion criteria (30 joints). A combination of soft tissue lesions was more common than injury to a single structure. Injuries involved the joint capsule (n = 25), collateral ligaments (n = 20), dorsal plica (n = 8) and open communication between the tarsocrural joint and extensor bundle (n = 7). Following arthroscopic surgery and rehabilitation, 81% of horses were able to return to their previous function.
Intra-articular soft tissue injuries of the tarsocrural joint may be associated with localising clinical signs of inflammation. This series represented 11% of the total number of arthroscopic procedures undertaken on that joint in a single referral hospital. Arthroscopic surgery allows accurate definition of the injuries and facilitates lesion management. Case outcome following arthroscopic debridement and a subsequent period of rehabilitation is favourable.
In lame horses with clinical signs localised to the tarsocrural joint, disrupted intra-articular soft tissues should be considered in the list of differential diagnoses. Attending clinicians should consider arthroscopic evaluation in cases where primary intra-articular soft tissue injuries are suspected to be causative.