Fibrotic Myopathies; How scar tissue effects joint function.
When a muscle is injured and heals it creates a fibrosis(the formation of fibrous muscle tissue). This tissue is restrictive, inelastic and very prone to re-inury. A commonly seen example of this would be a gait abnormality called a fibrotic myopathy which effects the hamstrings. When you see a horse that walks with a shortened stride on the hind limb that slams when it hits the ground it’s typically a case of fibrotic myopathy. At some point there was an injury to the hamstrings that healed causing an inelastic bit of scar tissue. When the quads contract to bring the leg forward and the hamstrings lengthen to allow this movement the site of the fibrosis doesn’t stretch and the leg hits its end of the range of motion - slamming down to the ground. If you feel on the back of the leg where the hamstrings are you can usually feel this fibrosis quite easily. If addressed early on after the injury has healed you can often improve the outcome by encouraging the scar tissue to be laid down in a more functional pattern. This helps maintain a greater range of motion and prevent problems like this common gait deficit.