Stability of the stifle joint comes from the crossing over of cranial and caudal cruciate ligaments within the joint, ensuring that the bones have limited movement in relation to each other.
The dog’s knee or stifle joint is relatively unstable as none of the bones interlock; instead, the femur or thigh bone and the tibia of the shin are joined together with several ligaments.
When a dog tears one or both of the joint ligaments, that joint becomes unstable, and it is the cranial cruciate ligament that is more predisposed to injury. As such, the bones of the joint move abnormally, leading to tissue damage, inflammation, pain and an inability to weight bear.
Cruciate ligament disease refers to the acute or progressive failure of the cruciate ligament, resulting in a partial to complete instability of the stifle joint and all stages in between.
Cruciate ligament rupture refers to the partial or complete tearing of the ligament. When affecting the cranial cruciate ligament, it constitutes the most common cause of hind leg lameness and a primary cause of the progressive and permanent deterioration of joint cartilage in the stifle joint.
Ligament damage can also happen when an already degenerating ligament tears during everyday activity.
In a significant proportion of animals, ligament rupture results from ether long term degeneration of the ligament fibres, general wear and tear, conformation issues or previous injury. These circumstances can trigger issues that will result in lameness, pain and osteoarthritis.
The use of Myotherapy treatment to support cruciate issues
On the whole, the likely recommended treatment for cruciate ligament injury will be a surgical repair, with the prognosis after surgery considered to be good.
A holistic approach, including Myotherapy treatment, as part of a post-operative treatment plan, can address the proper rehabilitation of tissues and ensures that possible compensatory issues or areas of referred pain before surgery do not impact the dog’s future mobility.
Injured muscles can heal very slowly and often never make a complete, functional recovery. The use of appropriate tissue therapy can, however, have a profound effect.
Treatment for the post-operative patient focuses on reducing recovery time and speeding up the natural healing process, controlling pain, reducing swelling, and enhancing blood and lymph circulation.
Treatment will also speed up the dog’s ability to weight bear on the affected limb, building up atrophied muscle around the joint whilst maintaining an effective range of joint motion.
Compensatory issues, in response to the dog’s altered gait over time, can also be treated.
In surgical cases, the optimal time to begin treatment is two to three weeks post-operatively. Which will be subject to each review and the progress of tissue healing – your veterinary surgeon will advise in all cases of soft tissue healing.