Case 1 – Chronic Back Pain
Summarized by Laura Wildschut, Equine Physical Therapist and Trainer.
- Company: Equidinamia
- Website: www.equidinamia.es
- Location: Madrid, Spain
- Duration treatment: Two months
Challenge: Recovery of a show jumper from chronic back pain developed over five months.
Solution: Combining various techniques:
- Multiple VetkinTape® applications
- Manual therapy
- Functional electrical stimulation
- Daily proprioceptive training
Impact: Due to the two months treatment, the horse showed no further signs of pain or sore areas.
The equine veterinarian Marta García Piqueres and the equine physical therapist Mar de Echevarría Ruiz-Oriol from Equidinamia (Spain) successfully implemented VetkinTape® in the treatment of a 7-year-old show jumper.
More Information about the work of Marta García Piqueres and Mar de Echevarría Ruiz-Oriol at www.equidinamia.es.
Symptoms and Limitations
The horse had developed chronic back pain over a period of 5 months before treatment. She showed the following symptoms:
- misbehavior while riding,
- a poor performance,
- a remarkable muscle atrophy over the right pelvis (gluteal muscles, hamstrings),
- the Selle Français mare also showed a mild lameness in trot on the right hind leg (1/5 AAEP lameness scale reference).
She was diagnosed with sacroiliac right pathology (chronic OA), by using scintigraphy and ultrasound techniques, and after that she was infiltrated twice without showing improvement.
Piqueres and Ruiz-Oriol decided to set up a 2-month treatment plan, combining:
- multiple VetkinTape applications,
- manual therapy (chiropractic adjustments, myofascial release, mobilization, stretching),
- functional electrical stimulation (FES, Equinew™),
- daily proprioceptive training program.
The training included lunging over poles, using elastic bands or proprioceptive bracelets and up-hill/down-hill walking unridden exercises.
Kinesiology Taping Benefits
The team from Equidinamia placed VetkinTape equine kinesiology tape over the sacroiliac area and the painful spinous processes with the intention of decreasing the pain.
The fascia technique was used over the thoracolumbar fascia to normalize the status of the fascia and allow the structures to move freely again. To detone the paravertebral tight muscles a muscle technique was used, and a toning muscular technique for the atrophied muscles to improve their function.
The combination of the techniques resulted in significant improvement of the performance of the horse. The right pelvic muscles developed very well, and the mare showed no signs of pain or sore areas anymore.
The mobility all over the back and sacroiliac area improved. Her rider continued to work her under a dynamic controlled exercise plan for several month and was able to ride her without behavioral problems.
Case 2 – Sacroiliac Pain
Sacroiliac pain in horses can be caused due a Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction in the sacroiliac region. Unfortunately, SI joint injuries are common among horses. An application with VetkinTape allows veterinary professionals to aid the horse with the recovery and rehabilitation of a SI-joint dysfunction.
Sacroiliac Or SI-Joint in Horses
The sacroiliac joint (SI-joint) connects the sacrum to the hip bones (iliac crests) and its main function is to absorb the shock between the back and the hind end of the horse. It is the important connection that allows movement to travel from the hind leg over the spine to the front of the horse.
The SI-joint itself has only little movement, because of strong ligamental und muscular connections. Due to stress the joint can become inflamed, even become immobilized or unstable and therefore cannot function properly anymore.
What Causes SI Dysfunction Injuries?
Repeated Stress on the SI-joint of the horse, for example caused by overstrain in consequence of too much or wrong training, leads to irritated and inflamed tissues and therefore the horse feels discomfort and pain. Often the development of a Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction occurs gradually, but acute cases can also happen suddenly after an injury or trauma, such as a fall in the pasture or an unfortunate landing after jump. A chronic SI injury persists over a period from at least three months and will require a much longer period of time and more repeated VetkinTape applications to recover.
Symptoms of Equine SI-Joint Dysfunction Injury
- The horse’s movement will be restricted, and it can also show behavioral signs of discomfort.
- Often the strides of the hind legs are shorter, because they don’t swing forward as much due to the restriction in the horse’s joints.
- Also, trouble with cantering or backing up can be connected to a Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction.
Prevention of SI-Joint Injuries in Horses
The SI taping application can also help with the prevention of a SI-joint dysfunction. The professional equine therapist can help the horse with taking stress of the structures and improving the motion of the joint, so injuries are less likely to occur.
- After competitions or intense training and riding sessions the horse needs enough recovery time, especially for strongly stressed joints like the SI-joint and the surrounding muscles.
- Keeping an eye on the horse, its condition and performance allows to detect upcoming problems early and to prevent further damage for example from a chronic SI dysfunction.
- Smart training management with extended warm up periods in the training and a controlled cool down phase after work or hard competitions protect the body of the horse from these injuries.
Taping Horses for Sacroiliac Pain
Safety precautions – The professional should be in a safe place when working on a horse and make sure, to check the surrounding. The horse should be held and not tied up, in case it gets scared or irritated by the tape. The handler should stand on the same side of the horse as the working professional. The ground may not be slippery.
The application of VetkinTape® on the SI joint can be supported with other tape applications or therapeutic techniques. The VetkinTape can stay on for a few days and after that the application can be renewed if necessary. Usually, a controlled treatment and exercise plan over the duration of 2-4 weeks is suggested.
Step-By-Step Equine Kinesiology Taping Application
Step 1 – For the SI joint taping of the horse, four I-Tapes are needed, each with a length of about 25cm depending on the size of the horse.
Step 2 – The edges should be rounded to prevent the tape from detaching. The space tape will be attached in a star formation on top of each other.
Step 3 – The first strip will be applied under maximum stretch along the spine (pull dorsal and caudal). The ends of each strip need to be applied with no stretch and then rub over the tape to activate the adhesive coating.
Step 4 – The second strip will be applied with maximum stretch in a 90-degree angle on top of the first tape.
Step 5 – The third and fourth tape will then each be applied in a 45-degree angle to the first tape.
Step 6 – The finished tape application should have the appearance of a star (or a flower).
VetkinTape® – More Efficient Sacroiliac Rehabilitation
An application with VetkinTape® allows veterinary professionals to aid the horse with the recovery of a SI-joint dysfunction. A complete examination of the horse should always precede the treatment and the consideration of any other causes for the symptoms the horse is showing. A ligament technique across the region of the SI-joint is implemented to reduce the pain and to detone the high tension in the tissues. The goal is to restore the normal range of motion and allow the horse to move more comfortably and freely. Also, the movement patterns of the horse can be positively influenced by the VetkinTape® addressing its sensory perception. Additionally, to the VetkinTape® of the SI joint, an individual controlled exercise program is recommended.
Photo: Left: Before treatment. Right: After treatment
Summarized by Laura Wildschut, Equine Physical Therapist and Trainer.
Case 3 – Peroneus Tertius Rupture in horses
The tendon is part of the reciprocal apparatus of the hindlimb to coordinate the flexion of the hock and stifle joints at the same time. If the peroneus tertius is ruptured, the joints can be moved independently from one another.
What Causes Peroneus Tertius Rupture in Equine?
In most cases, the rupture is caused by a trauma, for example slipping on wet ground, falling down, running into an object like a solid fence. By getting caught in a wire, also a laceration can be the cause of a rupture.
It has also been seen that equine hyperextend the hind limb while trying to jump out of the stable or the arena and get a leg caught on the door.
Symptoms of the Fibularis Tertius Rupture
There are typical clinical signs for this particular injury. The horse is able to extend the hock while the stifle is flexed. Weight bearing on the affected limb is possible, but in the trot, there is usually an evident lameness with delayed protraction of the limb due to overextension of the hock.
Swelling in the area of the rupture and a characteristic dimple in the caudal muscles of the affected limb can be seen.
The prognosis of a peroneus tertius rupture in a horse is usually good. The healing process depends on the location and the degree of the rupture and other injured muscles involved. An application with VetkinTape can support the process and support the tissues for the process if reintroduction to exercise.
Restoring the mobility and strength of all involved structures and the flexion angle of the hock is essential for the equine body health.
Additionally, to the VetkinTape application, a controlled exercise program including walking over poles (ridden or hand-walked), cavaletti work, training with a whip and using tactile stimulation devices is recommend. The use of a therapeutic laser has been positive as well.
Step-By-Step Equine Kinesiology Taping Application
Taping treatment for horses
Step by step instructions of how to apply tape for this particular condition to use during rehab exercises with the horse. If you prefer the application to stay on for a few days in a row, it is recommended to use less tension.
Step 1 – Cut one long stripe of tape, according to the horses’ proportion
Step 2 – Start the application over the fossa extensor of the femur (origin of peroneus tertius), applying with no stretch
Step 3 – Stretch the active part about 50% and apply the tape towards the third metatarsus
Step 4 – End the application with no stretch over the dorsal part of the third metatarsus (just in its proximal part).
Prevent Fibularis Tertius Rupture
To prevent a peroneus tertius rupture, the horses should not be left alone in an arena they would possibly try to jump out of. Nervous horses should not be left alone in a stall with a low door or an open window due to the same reasons.
In jumping training, they should not be worked on a slippery ground or over too high fences, to avoid overextension of the hock.
Case 4 – Angular Limb Deformities in Foals
Angular limb deformities (or ALD) in foals describes a condition of crooked legs in newborn foals. Kinesiology taping is very interesting for the use on angular limb deformities in foals.
What is Angular Limb Deformity (ALD)?
Angular limb deformities (or ALD) in foals describes a condition of crooked legs in newborn foals. The limb deviation can be seen in either one front, one hind or even more limbs.
A veterinarian should always be consulted on cases with newborn foal leg problems. With exercise of the foal, the stance of the limbs can correct itself in the first couple days after birth, but if not, a treatment should be performed in a timely manner to prevent subsequent problems.
What Causes Leg Deformities in Foals?
Regularly newborn foals are born with an angular limb deformity. Reasons for this can be for example a poor position in the womb of the mare, a premature birth, or other kinds of complications during the birth process of the foal. Further reasons can be developmental problems connected to the growth plate or accidents, like the kick of another horse leading to a trauma.
Symptoms of Foal Leg Problems
A deformity of the forelimbs and hind limbs are generally visible from the front and back as well as measurable. Usually, it should be possible to paint a straight line between all the joints from the top of the leg down to the hoof. With angular limb deformities instead of the straight line an angle can be noticed and even measured.
The foal might also show:
- laxity of the ligaments,
- swollen and inflamed joints,
- uneven wearing of the hoof wall or
- incomplete formation of the bones in the affected limb.
Carpus Valgus – Most Seen Deformity in Horses and Foals
There are two types of deformities, the so-called valgus deformity (lateral deviation of the limb) or varus deformity (medial deviation of the limb). The carpus valgus in one or both front limbs is the most seen deviation in foals. It describes the lateral deviation of the knee.
Prevention of Foal Leg Deformities
To prevent angular limb deformities in foals the breeding management of the mare should be well-conceived. A balanced nutrition of the mare during pregnancy and avoiding unnecessary stress are important factors.
After birth of the foal the risk of outside trauma should be considered and the exercise time and surrounding should be under controlled circumstances at least during the first days.
Veterinary Taping Foals for Angular Limb Deformities
Kinesiology taping is a technique with elastic orthopedic tapes. One of the effects of the tape is promoting stabilization of anatomical structures, that is why it is very interesting for the use on angular limb deformities in foals.
Step-by-Step Application of Kinesiology Taping with Foals
Step 1 – In both cases, a 20 cm VetkinTape was applied with 30% stretch over the medial aspect of the affected limb to support the medial collateral ligament of the carpus.
Step 2 – A 10 cm VetkinTape for the two anchors was wrapped over both ends of the first tape to anchor this first stripe.
Step 3 – The tape was changed every five days and the foals were reevaluated at 15 days of treatment. Drs. Solange Mikail used ImageJ software to measure the angles of the limbs in the pictures.
Correction of the Limbs by Using VetkinTape®
A foal grows rapidly during the first couple of months, that is why the correction of the limbs with VetkinTape® in a timely manner can have a positive effect.
The result of the equine kinesiology taping treatment depends on the severity of the limb deformity to begin with. If the treatment is initiated in advance of the physeal closure, the prognosis is generally good. There are conservative and surgical treatment options, depending on the severity and the details of the case.
In the examination of Solange Mikail two foals (one 30 and one 60 days old), each with carpus valgus in one front limb, were successfully treated with applications of VetkinTape®.
Research: Correlation Kinesiology Taping Angular Limb Deformities in Foals
Drs. Solange Mikail is a veterinarian, animal physiotherapist, member of the ACVSMR and instructor of VetkinTape® courses.
During the 10th international congress of the Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy (IAVRPT) in Knoxville USA (July 30th – August 3rd 2018) was her poster about the correction of angular limb deformities in foals honored as the best presentation.
Case 5 – Carpal Valgus Deformity in Canine
The angular limb deformity (or valgus deformity) in a dog is seen quite often as well. Here are also mainly young animals affected, under the age of one year. The deformities can occur due to trauma or as a result of abnormal bone growth.
After the physical examination and taking x-rays, the veterinarian can suggest a treatment plan. Often surgical methods are still used to correct the affected limb. Depending on the case and the severity, applications with VetkinTape® can be used to treat the condition. The application with VetkinTape® for a valgus deformity in a dog, for example in the carpus, corresponds to the described VetkinTape® application for horses.