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SI Injury - Does anyone have any Rehab Success Stories?

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  • SI Injury - Does anyone have any Rehab Success Stories?

    My horse has an ongoing SI injury. Got injured again back several months ago.

    I need some some inspiration. Does anyone have a SI rehab success story they can share? What exercises and therapy worked best for your horse?

  • #2
    I had one injected with truly amazing results--he went from bucking and kicking his way into canter departs to NEVER doing that again in less than a week! I realize I got lucky and that it's not always so obvious or so positive an outcome, but I was thrilled with the treatment and 3 years later it's never bothered the horse again.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      Had one initially treated with rest, meds, massage, chiro , acupuncture , epidural steroids & even lengthy turnout. Decided to try series of 3 shockwave treatments-1 every 2 wee. .ks. Since we have seen good results after 1st treatment for leg injuries we were a bit discouraged to see only a slight change after 1st SI treatment. 2 treatment was a little more improvement but it wasn't until the 3rd treatment we saw dramatic improvement. We gave her several weeks of turnout after that just letting her move around & stretch at will.
      She was a race filly so wore a soft back exercise saddle. Initial rehab consisted of of long straight lines & wide gentle turns with the riders weight kept off her back initially. Trotting she was never allowed to go too fast & get strung out & stress the S.I.
      We tried to be careful about the rehab watching for any signs of crankiness /resistance as an ind indication of over doing it. This flily made a complete& uneventful recovery.


      • #4
        Mine was injected then we did a comprehensive rehabilitation schedule with lots of consultation from the vet, remedial farrier and our osteopath (she also specializes in biomechanics, posture and asymmetry). He got about 2 months of rest and hand grazing (while the diagnosis was made), then he went into rehab starting with 4 weeks of trotting *slowly* in a straight line in hand on a firm surface over poles (with random distances, ie not trotting poles set at trotting stride). He wore a bell boot or curb chain on his left hind pastern to influence his hind limb protractor muscles as there was an asymmetry there.

        Once vet/osteo were satisfied with initial muscle build up he then went onto do lunging at w/t/c over poles and raised poles using a modified pessoa to have him work over his back. After a few weeks of that I was able to ride him but riding sessions were directed at getting him straight and working in a very structured manner to target his personal weaknesses, ie lots of lateral work. He's recovered but it took a while and I think the biggest thing is to build up the strength slowly and properly. I found the book Correct Movement in Horses by Gabriele Rachen-Schoneich really helpful in directing my rehab but it was also crucial to have the osteopath there who could analyze the horse's gait and help me structure my plan.


        • #5
          injected, great recovery. Maybe wasn't fully damaged.


          • #6
            Same experience as Delta. Wish I hadn't dicked around for so long before injecting.


            • #7
              Mine wasn't a candidate for injection- don't remember why. Chiropractic work combined with targeted fitness did the trick. Total rehab period was 9 months. Started with walking, about 2 miles a day, road and trails, flat ground. Later built up to hill walks and flat ground canter. No trotting until a month or two of canter. Then more fitness work for the hind end. Only then did we trot. The key was building and maintaining the muscle in the hind end to support the joint.
              "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

              Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
              Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


              • #8
                12 months out from SI injection, turned him into a new horse. Preceded and followed up with chiropractic work, keeping hocks tuned up, careful saddle fitting, appropriate work/ conditioning schedule.


                • #9
                  Mine tore his SI in a trailering accident. Did stem cell, lots of strength work, trot poles, etc. Requires regular chiro, but doing great. Showing 3rd level, working 4th. Deep tissue massage every other week for 3 months about a year after the injury helped break up residual scar tissue.

                  Just did 1st of 3 shockwave treatments to help him with collection, but not required for soundness. Just trying to help him "be all that he can be"


                  • #10
                    Could not confirm exactly how my mare injured her SI last winter (2011) but she could not trot more than 5 minutes under saddle before shutting down physically. I had her SI injected in March (spent until then with various vets trying to figure out the problem); best money I've ever spent!!

                    I was really careful bringing her back to work and stuck to a very strict rehab program. There are some very good programs available online.


                    • Original Poster

                      All thanks for the suggestions. Seems that injections worked for many of your horses. How did you go about reaching the decision with the your vet to inject? Was it their recommendation? How was the location determined and do you know what product was used? Is the injection a quick fix or does it provide long lasting relief - say more up to a year?


                      • #12
                        Just adding an update here. Two days after the first shockwave treatment, and he's a different horse! Trainer is amazed--he's sitting down behind and bending his hocks in a way he never has before.

                        They even had to hand-walk him on the second day instead of using the walker because he was wild! Apparently there had been some sacrum pain that the shockwave relieved.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Baby View Post
                          He wore a bell boot or curb chain on his left hind pastern to influence his hind limb protractor muscles as there was an asymmetry there.

                          using a modified pessoa to have him work over his back.
                          How was the pessoa modified and how the did the use of a bell boot influence his movement? I'm assuming it makes them pick the leg up higher. I'm curious as I am rehabbing an old SI injury.

                          Originally posted by ms raven View Post
                          I was really careful bringing her back to work and stuck to a very strict rehab program. There are some very good programs available online
                          Is there a specific online reference you can point us too? I've ordered Equine Fitness by Jec Ballou.

                          OP-- I have some stretching notes that were sent to me by 2 different CoTHers. If you PM me your email I can forward them to you.
                          Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                          Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                          "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


                          • #14
                            BoyleHeightsKid- my horse is really short coupled and has a bit of a dipped back so with the pessoa (ie the direct link front to back) it would actually put his back in extension rather than flexion (which is what we want). I used a surcingle and an elasticated tail bandage set approximately where the pessoa would around the hindquarters. I then put some low side reins to encourage him to have a low headset to increase tension on the nuchal/supraspinous ligament (bow and string theory of flexion). You could use anything though, chambon, draw reins etc or even without anything up front- the most important part is the hind limb stepping under the body.

                            The bell boot was recommended by my osteo, we used this because he was:
                            1) asymmetric hind limb muscles
                            2) was toe-dragging on his LH.

                            The therapy centre (where I was based) quite frequently used chains, weights etc to influence the horse's flight arc. The chain with this horse was too much and as it turned out the bell boot was just enough to get him to track up and lift his limb off the floor enough to stimulate development in his muscles. We only worked max 10-15 mins a day, and we were trotting over poles in a slow trot. The idea here was that a slower trot would encourage a greater moment of suspension for this particular horse. We were doing poles on hard ground (our driveway, the rock hard paddocks, paths etc) because the idea was that the harder ground would produce a greater ground reaction force to stimulate both muscle and bone adaptation to work. He would wear the bell boot every other day as we found that it would actually have a lasting effect on his movement the day following training. I guess it's important to note that we had a very good set of eyes on the ground to monitor the horse's gait and make the adjustments. People are obviously quite weary of using chains or other things to influence movement, but in this case we were targeting specific muscle groups and influencing the flight arc in a very controlled and monitored way. I will also emphasize that this was all unridden work, and all on a very straight line.


                            • #15
                              Thank you! That makes a ton of sense and I think it's a great idea for helping to build strength.

                              I like the idea of a modified type pessoa set up. I have a surcingle, side reins (and also vienna reins) and can rig up something similar. I don't like the idea of having the breeching strap running up and connecting to the bit like the pessoa does because of the action on the bit every stride. Haha I will be getting my exercise trotting him over poles in hand! I think doing them in hand will help to keep him slowed down as he will have to stay with me.
                              Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                              Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                              "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


                              • #16
                                it's a really great way to bond with them and teach them manners at the same time. We have a modified pessoa that basically does the same thing as the modified training aid I've been using- http://www.equiami.com/index.php/why-equiami but it's expensive and you can make it yourself using what you've got. Just gotta make sure that they don't lean on the sidereins, but really if you're "trotting" alongside them that is really easily fixable.


                                • #17
                                  My boy had and still slightly dealing with an SI injury. I am not sure exactly what it is, as he came to me so underweight we believed he changed the way he moved because he was in so much pain that it cause pressure in the hip area.

                                  I worked closely with a Chrio, who would come out weekly to two weeks to start. We did horse "Pilates" to strengthen his core and back end. On day one, I was told that my horse may never be able to jump, the Chrio was so unsure of the injury we had to take it a day at at time. I couldn't ride him for a couple months and we worked on the lunge line, going to the right 75% of the time and to the left (left SI) 25% of the time and only cantering. I added trot poles on a circle and as he got stronger we raised one end of each of the poles to make him lift higher.

                                  I also used the weighted boots from Equifit once a week and only at the walk.

                                  I never injected my horse we focuses on strengthening his muscles and the area around the SI for support.

                                  Today my horse competes up to 3'6 and schools 4'+. We still have days, mostly in winter, when hes stiffer than normal and we just ride through it, instead of a lesson day, we just hack around and work on shortening and collected trot/canter to help loosen up the area. I'm a big fan of sore-no-more and back on track products combined and notice an amazing difference when my horse can "bake" for 2 hours prior to a lesson.

                                  Some under saddle exercise that really worked was walking up hills to start and as they get stronger walking down, straight, the hill. Shortening the stride and collection are really good to build the muscle and cavalettis!

                                  Good luck with your boy and know that there is a good outcome with SI injuries it just takes time and patience!
                                  Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                                  Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                                  Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                                  Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by lightlee View Post
                                    All thanks for the suggestions. Seems that injections worked for many of your horses. How did you go about reaching the decision with the your vet to inject? Was it their recommendation? How was the location determined and do you know what product was used? Is the injection a quick fix or does it provide long lasting relief - say more up to a year?
                                    Hi lightlee,

                                    My vet recommended the injections based on my mare's symptoms (per lameness exam, palpation of her SI and observation of her movement on the lunge and video I provided). He was fairly certain of her problem and essentially it was the most affordable and safest diagnostic tool available for us. If it worked, we found and now potentially resolved the problem.

                                    Other than physical exam, there are some additional diagnostic tests available but they are more expensive, involved a good deal of travel and were much more dangerous (nerve blocks).

                                    A vet may use ultrasound to guide the needles to the correct area or use the horse's bone structure as a guide. It is a general "area" being injected, not a precise point. Is my understanding.

                                    My mare was injected with the following: (one injection each side)
                                    Sarapin, Traumeel, Amikacin (Amyglyde V) and Depro Medrol

                                    It may or may not provide long lasting relief for the horse but my vet suggested it should last at least 6 months (if it was going to work) but could last a year or never have to be re-done. Depends on the horse.

                                    I think often the goal is to help relieve the horse's pain so that they can work comfortably and correctly. If they can do this we can help them build muscular strength in the area to support the SI joint.

                                    Hope this helps.


                                    • #19
                                      My old gelding had SI injections -- all a result of (unknowing to me, as his saddle was reflocked and fit for him many times) an improper saddle fit. He had the SI done, had a short period of time off, and was on a monthly injection of Estrone - and it made the WORLD of a difference. The recooperation period was a little rough - we were eyeballing him as if he would no longer be an eventing candidate - but after a little time off and a little rehab (we did a lot of long and low distance riding for a few months, as well as chiro and Estrone injections) he went from a shabby mover to a very elegant and willing partner. We were worried we would have to inject every year -- with him, we never had to inject him again.

                                      I've noticed with SI injected horses that it isnt very beneficial if they have a great amount of time off - keeping them active and fit seems to do a great deal of wonders for them - doesnt mean they have to be ridden hard though. I didn't seem to see an improvement when I lunged with my gelding - however, doing daily trot poles really got him to develop muscle and appropriate track up - without concussion. My vet recommended I do walk poles before warming up and walk poles after - and I do credit his newfound flexibility to the pole work we did. Good luck to you!
                                      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                                      • #20
                                        I've used Estrone in the past I forgot what it was called. He didn't have injections done but the vet had me give him a shot of Estrone 1x a week for a month while riding him 6 days a week. The estrone made him looser and more comfortable to be able to really work him and build the muscle up. Once the muscle is built up he was fine.