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Monday, October 29, 2007

Tendon Rehab Specialist Adopts Gait Analysis to Monitor Healing Parameters


When War of Attrition, the famous 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner, suffered a serious foreleg tendon problem in March 2007, an all-out effort was made to aid his recovery and bring him back to compete again in the jump racing world.

A new breed of company in the British Isles was tapped to micro-manage the horse's treatment and recovery. "Tendon Works" operates in-patient equine treatment centers--the equivalent of an intensive-care equine clinic crossed with a layup farm. At a center near Canterbury, south of London, England and a new one in Fethard, Ireland, horses undergo ten-week programs of biomechanical and clinical assessment followed by treatment and rehab.

“War of Attrition presented with an obvious and significant tendon injury to the right fore superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT), and early signs of damage to the SDFT on the contra-lateral side,” says Dr David Chapman-Jones of Tendon Works.

“Following as assessment on the treadmill, (in my opinion) it was clear his front limb loading and hindquarter action were also not right," he continued. "Russell Guire of Centaur Biomechanics assessed the horse using Equinalysis video-based screening, and the results surprised us all by showing a problem with the horse’s left fore and also a problem in his pelvis.

“We assessed the horse holistically and decided to change his saddle to one with a carbon-fiber tree and air flocking, which reduced the pressure on his back. We also adjusted his shoeing, which made a difference to the strain on the forelimb flexor tendons, and used specific exercises to ensure he engaged his back end more productively, which reduced the fore limb loading and gave the tendon treatment the best chance to work," he explained. "War of Attrition is now back with trainer Mouse Morris in Ireland, and I estimate that his tendon injury is nine-tenths recovered – he is currently undergoing an appropriate training regime to manage stress to the limb.”

The combination of Equinalysis’ locomotive assessment and Tendon Works’ cell regeneration treatment, which claims to boost the damaged tendon’s electro-chemical signaling process with stem-cell technology, means equine healing and recuperation can be accelerated.

Equinalysis technology records and collates physiological aspects such as a horse’s stride length and joint flexion, providing owners with a baseline of data; the screening is performed by trained clinicians and data is collected using a laptop computer and single or multiple digital cameras. The screening service is available to all horse owners, and is recommended for ‘benchmarking’ a horse to assess its locomotion when sound.

Going forward, Tendon Works will be incorporating Equinalysis screening into their injury prevention evaluations at the new Fethard Equine Hospital in County Kildare, Ireland.

Please visit: www.equinalysis.co.uk for info about the screening technology, or www.tendonworks.com for details of Tendon Works’ treatment regimen and services.