Muscle Splints in Horses: Restoring Function and Flexibility with Massage

Muscle splinting is a physiological response of the body to protect an injured or inflamed muscle, tendon or joint. When there is an injury to a muscle, tendon or joint, the surrounding muscles may tighten to limit movement and protect the affected area from further damage. This tightening of the muscles is called muscle splinting.

Muscle splinting is a common response by the body to protect the affected area. It will occur in response to various types of injuries or conditions, such as muscle strains, sprains, tendon injuries or strain, or joint pain, injury or arthritis. It can also occur in response to chronic pain or inflammation.

Muscle splinting can help to protect a weak and injured area but it can also lead to muscle stiffness and limited mobility.

It’s important to first address the underlying cause of muscle splinting with your Vet.

Then, once your horse’s body has healed well enough that it no longer needs the protection provided by the muscle splinting, it’s time to return function and flexibility of the affected muscles.

Muscle splinting around a sore muscle or joint or above an injured tendon will not correct itself. It will need intervention through a combination massage followed by careful physical conditioning.

Massage can release the stuck myofascial tissues and muscle knots and increase local circulation, pressing nutrients, oxygen and fluids back into starved tissues. Massage improves both range of motion and recovery from injury and exercise stress. Massage talks to the neuromuscular system and helps alert it that the danger is over. Massage helps return normal muscle function.

Massage helps the body relax, release, and re-align itself physically and neurologically for more correct, sound, efficient movement.

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