Tendon and Ligament Injury
There are several important tendons and ligaments in the lower leg. The superficial digital flexor tendon, the deep digital flexor tendon, and the suspensory ligament are the most prominent and often prone to injury. Injuries to these structures can occur acutely or be a result of chronic strain. Signs of tendon or ligament damage include lameness, heat, pain on palpation, or swelling across the back of the limb where these structures lie.
Diagnosis of these injuries involves the previously described techniques to localize the problem. The best way to evaluate the tendons and ligaments of the lower leg is through ultrasonography, which displays the intricate linear fiber pattern of the tendons and ligaments to show disruption or swelling in the structures.
Advances in regenerative medicine are the newest methods being used for tendon and ligament injuries. Injecting platelet-rich plasma (PRP) directly into the injured area will increase the amount of local growth factors that will promote healing.
Injection of stem cells into a lesion can provide a cellular scaffolding on which healing can begin. Both PRP and stem cells can be harvested from your own horse, making them safer and less likely to cause a reaction. Because they are from the body’s own cells or plasma, they do not trigger an immune response or inflammation.