Sprains Bones are held together by thick bands of cartilage that we know as ligaments.

A sprain is an injury that affects the ligaments and can be an extremely debilitating condition. Areas commonly affected by sprains are Stifle (cruciate ligament) Hock & Tarsus (ankle) Toes Wrist (carpus) As the ligaments become overstretched, and can sometimes rupture or tear, just as a muscular strain, the dog will be in pain when weight bearing or trying to use the affected area.

There are 4 degrees of sprain

1st Degree – minor tear or stretch
2nd Degree – tear followed by swelling
3rd Degree – Complete Rupture
4th Degree – Ligament breaks and takes with it small pieces of bone.

Your vet will be able to diagnose a sprain by testing various suspected joints.

When a cruciate ligament is damaged the vet may test by doing the sliding drawer test (when the femur moves over the tibia) and is usually done when sitting and may require sedation. Other test for cruciate ligament injuries include the tibial compression test where the vet will put pressure on the affected leg; feeling for forward motion of the tibia. X rays can also be used for diagnosis.

Massage is an invaluable therapy for sprains ad the dog will overcompensate for their pain by shifting their weight to other limbs and areas of the body. In the dog with cruciate ligament issues they will often take the weight of the affected leg into their lower back resulting in a bulging “saddlebag” effect in the lumbar region as the overcompensating muscles begin to thicken and become less flexible making it even harder for your dog to cope.

The Canine Massage Therapy Centre uses structured, safe manipulation and massage to help the dog with sprained ligaments. Massage can help sprains by Increasing the recovery time Speeding up natural healing Reducing and resolving painful areas of overcompensation helping your dog to be more mobile Reducing pain Reducing inflammation Improve weight bearing Rebuild atrophied or wasted muscle.

During healing process helps to encourage use of affected leg again A WORD OF CAUTION – sprains; they sound nasty don`t they? And indeed they are very painful, so if you want to reduce your dogs risk of a sprain then DO NOT USE A BALL LAUNCHER or encourage them to do anything that causes sudden braking or twisting. Ball Launchers cause thousands of soft tissue injuries each year; so if you are seeing strange gait irregularities in your dog, or if they are limping, lame etc.


You have been warned! Symptoms of a sprain Bruising Swelling Pain Yelping or crying Unable to use leg Unable to weight bear Persistent lameness Sitting with one leg abducted out to side

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