Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Gastrocnemius tendinitis

Contributor(s): Ron Genovese, Graham Munroe

Introduction

  • Cause:
    • Rarely, normal athletic use.
    • Direct trauma, eg direct kick or blow.
    • Indirect trauma, eg trailer loading/unloading accident.
    • Unknown.
  • Signs: unilateral hindlimb lameness (often sudden onset) with shortened caudal phase of stride and enlarged point of hock and the common calcaneal tendon area proximal to the point of the hock.
  • Diagnosis: ultrasonography of gastrocnemius tendon comparing with normal side. Comparison with contralateral limb is extremely important in cases with predominantly tendinitis presentation with minimal fiber bundle tearing identifiable ultrasonographically.
  • Treatment:
    • If associated with a contaminated wound, antibiotics may be indicated.
    • NSAIDs, such as phenylbutazone, in the early stages.
    • Hydrotherapy.
    • Nitrofurazone hock sweats.
    • Serial ultrasonography during rehabilitation to guide increase in exercise.
    • Stall rest and hand-walking until clinical and ultrasonographic evidence indicates a gradual increase in exercise.
  • Prognosis: guarded.

Pathogenesis

Pathophysiology

  • Most often associated with trauma (direct or indirect) but occasionally no predisposing cause is obvious.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Jesty S A, Palmer J E, Parente E J et al (2005) Rupture of the gastrocnemius muscle in six foals. JAVMA 227 (12), 1965-1968 PubMed.
  • Dyson S J et al (1995) Miscellaneous conditions of tendons, tendon sheaths and ligaments. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 11 (2), 315-337 PubMed.
  • Dyson S J & Kidd L (1992) Five cases of gastrocnemius tendinitis in the horse. Equine Vet J 24, 351-356 PubMed.


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