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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2004
    North Florida

    Default How long to heal a collateral ligament?

    Just realized I posted this on the wrong forum.......oops!
    Was trying to ask how long would it take to fix a slight collateral ligament strain (no holes, just slightly thickened).
    A horse I sold was sent back to me (a year after he passed the prepurchase and was sound for at least 6 months) with a mystery lameness. Unfortunately they didn't care to spend the money for an MRI (could have!!), and just turned him out awhile......then offered him back to me.
    Trying to help the horse, I brought him home and put him in a stall for 6 months at my vets recommendation. The xrays were clean, he'd blocked to the foot, and a coffin joint injection hadn't helped). His collateral ligament looked "slightly thickened" but it was not a definitive diagnosis.
    I'm tempted to just turn him out for the summer/semi-retired (he's 15) It's so hard on him to have to be in the stall.
    Never having a CL issue, I'm not sure of the protocol to fix it (if possible).....and how do you know when you can bring them back slowly?
    www.flyingcolorsfarm.comHome of pinto stallion Claim to Fame and his homozygous son, Counterclaim. Friend us on Facebook!!/pages/Fl...04678589573428

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2006


    It can take a year. I think the initial stall rest and hand walking can make the difference in outcome. The vet whom did the ultrasound should be able to advise you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 26, 2008


    I'm heading tomorrow for a MRI & Contrast CT scan on a horse with a confirmed core lesion & avulsion of an MCL.
    My Vet said if nothing else is found , then 3 months stall rest, then slow, slow, slow rehab to follow. A full year to be realistic.

    I would assume another ultrasound for your horse at some point to tell you how things have healed. I'm guessing if it's thickened, it's in a chronic weakened state, so be careful with the turn out, I'd be afraid one explosion in the pasture could rupture it like my guy did

    I'm sure your Vet can give you a better idea than any of us(LOL)

    Best of luck. I'm updating another thread , letting others know what to expect....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace


    For Star's first collateral ligament injury which was described as a strain (no tear) we did alternating shock wave and IRAP for three rounds each, then hand walked about a month. Then tack walked about a month. Then started to trot. Etc. By the time all was said and done it was 7-8 months from diagnosis to full flat work, ready to start jumping. Horse lived in a 14x16 stall throughout with no turnout or lunging.

    The second injury was described as a very very slight strain, so perhaps more similar to your thickening? Though there were a host of other issues. One round of IRAP, followed by about a month of hand walking. About 2 weeks into the hand walking we were allowed to put him out in a small paddock (roughly 14x60). Then we started with gradual canter work, before starting trot work (due to the cervical spine and SI issues, not the collateral ligament).

    However, I suspect one person's slight strain could be another person's thickening so it's hard to tell how bad it is just based just on that description.

    And, yes, this horse has had two scintigraphies and two MRI's.
    The Evil Chem Prof

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2010
    Southern Maryland


    My past endurance horse had strained a collateral ligament when pulling a front shoe badly. My favorite leg vet (track vet) recommended 2-3 shock wave treatments and 2 weeks of rest then right into an progressive exercise program. She was back into low level competition at the 6-7 month point from the injury. The exercise is key to repair and rehab.


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