Equine Sport Solutions (ESS),
is a veterinary practice based out of Colorado Springs, promoting the pursuit of excellence in the equestrian sport.

Lameness Evaluations

Equine Sport Solutions in Colorado Springs is pleased to offer the best in lameness diagnosis. Our equine veterinarian has post-doctoral training in lameness and advanced diagnostics.

1. Initial physical examination: The body and limbs are digitally palpated to find evidence of abnormal bony or soft tissue swellings. Acupuncture points are run. Hoof testers are placed on each foot.​

2. Moving evaluation: The horse is evaluated on multiple surfaces, walking and trotting in a straight line, and circling both directions. Flexion tests or stress tests are performed on each limb, which evaluate the ability of specific joints or a combination of joints to return to normal function/mobility after stress has been applied. This can be compared to a person kneeling for a period of time. When the person first rises, the knees and ankles are sore and walking is difficult. After a period of time, they do not hurt any longer and the person is able to walk normally. An equine veterinarian will expect a horse to limp a couple of steps before returning to normal. If this period is delayed, the area that has just been stressed should be evaluated further. If the lameness is subtle, Equine Sport Solutions also recommends evaluating the horse under tack.

3. Blocking: If a lameness is detected, it is further localized with either peripheral nerve blocking or intra-articular blocking to determine a specific origin of pain within the limb. This may take some time, but shouldn’t be skipped because it will save you money in the end. It is better to spend money on diagnostic imaging (the next step of the exam) of one particular region than to image an entire limb. Imaging an entire limb to determine the cause of lameness is like trying to find a needle in a haystack! Just because an equine veterinarian finds pathology on an imaging modality doesn’t mean it is an “active” source of pain. That pathology must block out to prove it is actually the source of pain. Please see our page regarding diagnostic blocking for more information.

4. Diagnostic imaging: Once the pain has been localized to a specific region, that region can be imaged. The type of imaging is determined by the veterinarian’s impression and combination of examination findings. Bony lesions are best imaged with radiography (X-ray) and soft tissue injuries are best imaged with ultrasound. Please see our page regarding diagnostic imaging. There are a multitude of advanced imaging modalities that are not described here, but may be recommended in certain cases or when the above mentioned imaging categories have been inconclusive. Advanced imaging modalities may include nuclear scintigraphy (bone scan), CT, or MRI.

5. Treatment: Treatment is recommended by an equine veterinarian based on what lesion has been identified following diagnostic imaging. There are a variety of treatments for musculoskeletal injuries. Please see our specific treatment pages for more information.