Horses Can Recover From Bow Tendons

Horses with tendon injuries are at high risk of re-injury because the scar tissue is less powerful as the original.

It’s a diagnosis no horse owner wants to hear. Bowed tendons are a significant cause of horse lameness and can be career ending for equine athletes. ‘Back pain in horses‘ is the most common issue each horse face.¬†

Although most frequently a condition of racehorses, it can occur in other horses as well.

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A bowed tendon is an injury to the superficial digital flexor tendon, which runs along the back of the leg, directly behind the cannon bone. Swelling from such injuries creates the characteristic bump on the back of the leg.

There are several professionals available on the internet offering bow tendon repair for horses which are helpful for the horses. 

Horses can injure a number of different tendons and ligaments, but they’re located deeper under tissue so there isn’t any obvious swelling or bow in those. Most bowed tendons occur in the front legs.

The dense collagen that makes up tendons connects muscles to bone. In horses, tendons are a key anatomical adaptation to high speed running. They efficiently transfer muscle energy to mechanical motion, allowing horses to run for long distances at rapid speeds while conserving energy.

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Among domestic animals, tendon injury seems to be mainly a problem with horses.

Cows have similar lower leg structures, but tendon injuries are rare because we don’t ask our cows to run races, jump fences or execute other athletic tasks.


However, Achilles tendon injuries in human athletes share many similarities to horses, leading some researchers to suggest that horses are a useful model to study this injury in people.


Bowed tendons most often occur after prolonged micro-injuries to the tendon that eventually overwhelm the body’s ability to heal and eventually lead to lameness.


The accumulation of these micro injuries is the reason why bowed tendons are more common in older horses. Less often, tendons rupture with limited previous injury.