Local reinforcements of the digital fascia as the highlighted annular ligaments and the palmar pouches of the fetlock joint.

Tendons and Suspensory Ligament Provide the Horse Power and Stability

The functional anatomy and biomechanics of the equine fascial reinforcements, tendons and ligaments

Farrier Takeaways

  • The palmar annular ligament is critically important for the biomechanics of the horse since it stabilizes the fetlock from hyperextension and counteracts the tendency of the sesamoid bones to move abaxial during load.
  • The connection between muscles, tendons and their attachments to bones are crucial points of the transfer of muscle forces to the bones.
  • In cases of inflammation of the common digital flexor tendon sheath, nine pouches become visible and can be palpated as fluctuating protrusions in these areas due to increased synovial fluid.

Digitigrade posture of the distal limb is characteristic for animals that can move at high speed (Hildebrand et al, 2001; Patel, 2010).

The benefit of the extended position of the equine distal limb, mainly determined in the metacarpophalangeal joint (MPJ), is the gain in elastic strain energy in the flexor tendons that cross the MPJ and digital joints palmarly/plantarly (Biewener, 1998). The energy expended during locomotion, arising mainly from muscular forces generated to support an animal’s weight and motion, can be reduced by taking advantage of elastic recoil in long tendons of distal extremity (Butcher, et al, 2009. Herrick, et al, 1978).

Conservation of energy is principally achieved by the storage and release of elastic strain energy in the tendons and ligaments of the limb (Harrison et al, 2010; McGuigan et al, 2003; McNeill, 2002). It is proven that besides the strain energy stored and released in the elastic elements of the muscles, the majority is achieved within the long tendons or ligaments…

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Jennifer hagen 5

Jenny Hagen

Jenny Hagen, DVM, PhD, CF, is a veterinarian, re­searcher and certified farrier. She is in private practice for equine ortho­pedics and chiropractic. She is a mem­ber of the faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Leipzig University in Ger­many.

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