Leg Weights Help Rehabilitate Hind Limb Gait Issues

Bracelets and leg weights strengthen and activate certain muscles to help improve hind end gait abnormalities.
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Unlike in human medicine, where physical therapy (PT) is widely embraced and an abundance of science supports the use of various PT techniques and tools, the science supporting PT in horses is lacking. This leaves veterinarians and horse owners alike wondering what works and what doesn’t.

"In an attempt to provide a scientific basis for the use of PT and rehabilitation in the equine industry, I focused my research efforts on evidence-based research studies in this area," said Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS, Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Vice President of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Clayton, together with equine physical therapist Narelle Stubbs, BAppSc (Phty), MAnimST (Animal Physiotherapy) of the Animal Rehabilitation Institute, in Loxahatchee, Fla., has published several studies assessing how PT might improve toe dragging and short striding in horses. In these studies researchers attached bracelets or light leg weights around horses’ pasterns to stimulate receptors in the skin

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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