Hind limb lameness and the sacroiliac joint

Hind limb lamenesses can have many causes. Hip dysplasia and stifle problems such as cruciate disease or patella luxation are a few of the problems that vets commonly see. However, sometimes the radiographs come back looking normal and the anti inflammatories don’t seem to have made much difference. What happens next. These days CT scans may then be offered.

I recently saw a whippet that had been lame for the last few months. Her right thigh muscles has shrunk to half the size compared to her left. She was referred to me for a biomechanical assessment before the CT scan option.

It was a problem I see in many lamenesses and is not visible on any Xrays. Her right sacroiliac joint had become jammed. This creates pain and stiffness in that leg and can leads to overwork of the muscles leading to tightness and muscle knots or trigger points. I often explain it to my clients that it feels like ‘ one leg is a bit short and needs a good yank to get it even’. Three treatments later, the sacroiliac joint was 100%  better, the thigh muscles were the same size on both sides and the limp had disappeared.

Anti inflammatories won’t free up a joint that is jammed up. Muscle knots have such poor blood supply that the anti inflammatories can’t penetrate effectively either. Continual activity such as jumping, ‘spinnies’,’ twisty turny’ running around will aggravate the problem.

Oh and while I am in this area, it always pays to check that the whole pelvis is moving well. There are two other major joints in the spine as well as the sacrum that can literally go pear shaped, especially in a puppy. This can even predispose to common conditions later down the track such as hip dysplasia, cruciate disease and patella luxations.

Now I just have to find some time to get my own leg fixed. It’s only been six months but I keep saying It’s been so busy and I’ll get around to it sooooon….

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