Bowed Tendons are a common and potentially career ending injury common in racing and less frequently seen in horses participating in other events. Any tendon inflammation or tear must be carefully managed if a horse is expected to return to racing at any level. Total rest can allow adhesions to form which can tear loose when the horse goes back into training resulting in pain, heat and swelling.
Without intensive management, a bowed tendon is usually considered a career ending injury for a racehorse. Those horses that did run after being returned from extensive time off either re-bowed or ran at a significantly reduced level of competition. However, excellent results and a return not only to racing but at the same level as before the injury have been reported using a particular treatment.
Taken From Equi Info
Horse owners and veterinarians alike will agree that a “bowed tendon” is a common cause of lameness in horses. A “bowed tendon” develops following excessive strain of the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT). The application of excessive strain to the tendon results in tearing of the tendon fibers. The end result of fiber tearing is pain and lameness. The fore limbs are more commonly affected than the hind limbs. The predominant sign of a bowed tendon is as a warm, painful swelling associated with the SDFT. Tendon injuries are usually unilateral but bilateral injuries are not uncommon. The most common breeds affected include the racing Thoroughbred and Standardbred, Arabians used for endurance riding, and horses used for dressage, three-day eventing, and combined training. The injury can be performance limiting and in some instances can result in the end of an athletic career.The SDFT is made of fiber bundles that can be stretched or torn by trauma or overloaded in a single episode or following repeated damage (cyclic fatigue). Tendon fibers are usually torn in the mid-cannon bone region because the SDFT has the smallest cross-sectional diameter at this point. Once the natural arrangement of the tendon fibers is disrupted, inflammation, edema and hemorrhage further disrupt the bundles. At this point, the horse may be lame. On the other hand, some horses may only show tendon swelling without signs of lameness.
Taken From Vet