Conservative management of 17 horses with nonarticular fractures of the tibial tuberosity. Academic Article uri icon


  • REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: Fractures of the tibial tuberosity (FTT) are caused by direct trauma, and are the second most commonly reported injury in event horses with stifle trauma. Conservative management of horses with FTT has been advocated, but results and prognosis for this method of therapy are unknown. OBJECTIVES: To report and review the findings of a retrospective study of 17 horses admitted to a veterinary teaching hospital from 1986-2001 with nonarticular FTT that received conservative management. METHODS: Subject details, aetiology of the accident, limb affected, degree of lameness at time of admission, size and degree of displacement of the fracture fragment, complications such as comminution of the fracture fragment or damage to soft tissue structures within the affected stifle, and treatment recommendations were obtained from medical records. Owners and trainers were contacted regarding the horse's return to athletic use. The follow-up period consisted of 11-154 months. RESULTS: Two horses were reportedly sound, but unable to return to competition for unrelated reasons. Of the horses that completed the rehabilitation period, 12/15 (80%) returned to athletic use at the same level as before the injury. Three horses were diagnosed with damage to soft tissue supporting structures of the affected stifle and could not return to their former level of competition. CONCLUSIONS: Concurrent soft tissue damage, diagnosed at the time of the initial injury, was statistically significant in precluding horses from returning to athletic careers. All other variables were found to have no effect upon outcome. POTENTIAL CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This retrospective study suggests that the conservative management of nonarticular FTT is a viable treatment modality in managing athletic equine patients presenting with these fractures.

published proceedings

  • Equine Vet J

author list (cited authors)

  • Arnold, C. E., Schaer, T. P., Baird, D. L., & Martin, B. B

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Arnold, CE||Schaer, TP||Baird, DL||Martin, BB

publication date

  • March 2003