Conditions or ailments that are the cause of a problem that you see - your observation.

Your vet may diagnose

Proximal Suspensory Ligament Injury, Front Limb


Strain of the proximal suspensory ligament of the forelimb is a relatively common soft tissue injury in sport and racehorses and comes from repetitive loading or overload of this structure. It can be difficult to diagnose, requiring a thorough lameness evaluation in most cases.

In many cases of forelimb proximal suspensory desmitis, there is little noticeable swelling. In some cases, pain may be noticed when pressing on this area, but this can be misleading too, as many healthy horses respond to pressure here.

The cornerstone of the veterinary diagnosis is high suspensory nerve blocks, followed by imaging the area with ultrasound. The gold standard in diagnosis of proximal suspensory ligament desmitis is MRI, because ultrasound may not pick up subtle lesions.

TREATMENT: This condition can be difficult to treat, and can recur after return to work. In particular, hind limb proximal suspensory desmitis (detailed elsewhere) is stubborn to treat and is rarely rewarding to treat over the long-term. At the least, high suspensory injury treatment involves extended periods of rest and gradually increasing exercise, with repeated reevaluation by a vet and ultrasound to assess healing.

my vet's role


Treatments May Include

These treatments might be used to help resolve or improve this condition.

Very Common
Less Common
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The prognosis for forelimb proximal suspensory ligament desmitis is guarded. It tends to recur. The prognosis for hind limb proximal suspensory desmitis is generally poor.

my role


I might observe

You might make these observations when a horse has this condition.

Very Common
Less Common
more observations

Questions To Ask Your Vet:
  • What is the current thinking of the use of biologics to treat this condition?
  • Does my horse's conformation play a roll in the development of this condition?

Ensure fitness level is compatible with work level. Avoid footing that is too deep. Choose horses of appropriate limb conformation.

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP