A review of tendon injury: Why is the equine superficial digital flexor tendon most at risk?

Authors

  • C. T. THORPE,

    1. University College London, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, Stanmore Campus, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, London HA7 4LP; and Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE, UK.
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  • P. D. CLEGG,

    1. University College London, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, Stanmore Campus, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, London HA7 4LP; and Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE, UK.
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  • H. L. BIRCH

    1. University College London, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science, Stanmore Campus, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, London HA7 4LP; and Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE, UK.
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Summary

Tendon injury is one of the most common causes of wastage in the performance horse; the majority of tendon injuries occur to the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) whereas few occur to the common digital extensor tendon. This review outlines the epidemiology and aetiology of equine tendon injury, reviews the different functions of the tendons in the equine forelimb and suggests possible reasons for the high rate of failure of the SDFT. An understanding of the mechanisms leading to matrix degeneration and subsequent tendon gross failure is the key to developing appropriate treatment and preventative measures.

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