Horse Riding Injuries

 

 

 

Horseback riding has various formats that are popular around the world, such as endurance riding, rodeo, jumping, racing, dressage, polo, and recreational riding. Over 30 million people participate in horseback riding activities each year, and that’s just in America. Considering that riders are off the ground and that horses can travel at speeds of up to 40 miles an hour, horseback riders do have an inherent risk of injury.

What Causes Horseback Riding Injuries?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Surveillance Survey estimated that there were over 73,000 individuals treated in an emergency room for horseback riding injuries in 2005. The data showed that the most common mechanism of injury was a fall from the horse. Other studies have simultaneously shown that as many as three of every four horseback riding injuries are the result of a fall. It’s important to note that a fall can be secondary to mishandling or rider error, improper equipment, and so forth.

Falling from a horse can result in serious and life threatening head, spine, and internal injuries. However, according to a study by the American Medical Equestrian Association, the two most common sites of injury are the upper and lower extremities, with soft tissue damage and fractures being the most common types of injuries. Such injuries may occur as a rider realizes they are about to fall and tries to make an emergency dismount or tries to break the fall by stretching their arm out.

One other important note is that the repetitive motions associated with riding a horse can also produce a number of overuse injuries to soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

What Are Some Common Horseback Riding Injuries?

Fractured Bones

A fall from a horse, even one that is stationary, can cause a hard enough impact to fracture foot, ankle, leg, shoulder, forearm, wrist, and/or finger bones. A fracture occurs when the bone looses its normal continuity.

 

Bones can fracture a number of different ways, including:

* Open/compound fracture - the fractured bone is exposed either by protruding through the skin or by being situated underneath an open wound.

* Closed/simple fracture - the fractured bone remains underneath fully-intact skin.

* Complete fracture - the fragments of the fractured bone separate completely.

* Incomplete fracture - the crack in the bone doesn’t transverse the entire width of the bone. Instead, fragments of the fractured bone remain partially joined.

* Spiral fracture - at least one portion of the bone was twisted during the impact.

* Comminuted fracture - the fractured bone was broken into multiple segments.

* Impacted fracture - the impact of the injury caused the fractured bone’s fragments to drive into each other.

Contusions

A contusion is a medical term describing a bruise. It occurs following a blunt trauma. The force of the trauma damages blood vessels and allows blood to seep into the surrounding interstitial tissues. The pooling blood is what produces the black and blue appearance of the bruise. Mild contusions will be confined to the subcutaneous tissues. However, greater forces can cause the underlying muscle or bone to be bruised.

Subcutaneous contusions are generally accompanied by a black, blue, or red mark that eventually changes to brown, yellow, or green after a few days; mild pain; localized tenderness; and mild, if any, localized swelling.

Muscle contusions are common on the buttock, thigh, and calf areas. The force of the impact crushes the muscle against underlying bone and causes bleeding and cellular damage to the affected muscle. In addition to the discoloration described in subcutaneous contusions, a hematoma (lump) may be felt under the skin and the affected muscle may spasm. Movements may also feel stiff or be extremely painful.

Bone contusions are common to the hips, feet, spine, ankles, as these areas have bony protrusions with little skin or muscle covering. Bone contusions are often accompanied by significant pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness. Pain may intensify when weight is placed on the bruised area and when the area is moved; for example, an ankle contusion may become very painful during standing or walking.

Groin Strain

A groin strain involves the adductor muscle group and tendons - adductor magnus, minimus, brevis, and longus; gracilis; and pectineus. These are the muscles attaching the pelvis with the inner portion of the femur. This muscle-tendon group is what powers the leg to move toward the midline of the body. In other words, each time a rider grips the saddle or flexes and extends their leg to rise during a trot or jump, the adductor groin muscles are being used.

A groin strain occurs when one or more of the adductor muscles or tendons become abnormally stretched or torn. Groin strains may be caused by either a blunt force trauma to the groin or from repetitive stress. Muscle weakness, fatigue, and imbalances may be contributing factors to the injury.

All strains are graded based on the degree of injury to the affected muscle and/or tendon:

Grade I - mild stretching or microscopic tearing of fibers. This usually doesn’t interfere with the structural function of the muscle-tendon unit.

Grade II - moderate tearing of the muscle-tendon fibers that can cause moderate localized swelling, pain, tenderness, and loss of function.

Grade III - more than 90% of the muscle-tendon fibers are torn. This can cause significant swelling, pain, tenderness, and loss of function.

Products

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Acute Sinew Liniment

Acute Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

Quickly relieves pain, reduces swelling and inflammation, and breaks up clotted blood and stagnant fluids in the injured area. Stimulates circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues, providing rapid pain relief and faster healing. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.
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Chronic Sinew Liniment

Chronic Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

Strongly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles, thereby quickly relieving pain, stiffness and weakness. Sinew Injury Poultice, Sinew Relaxing Soak, and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Herbal Ice

Acute Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

This first-aid ice alternative poultice (balm) is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the recovery and healing process. Reduces redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the injured area. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain normal range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Injury Poultice

Chronic Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

This poultice (balm) is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful in cold and damp weather. It significantly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and further promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Relaxing Soak and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $37.95
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Sinew Relaxing Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your injured area. It is used to relax muscles, tendons and ligaments that are in spasm to reduce pain and stiffness and improve range of motion. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Sports Massage Oil

This specially formulated massage oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It penetrates deep into muscle layers to warm and stimulate muscles, increase circulation and relieve tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.
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Our price: $29.95
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Sinew Warming Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. It is used to bring warmth into the injured area to drive coldness out of damaged tissues and increase local circulation, thereby relieving pain and stiffness in cold weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $23.95
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