Equestrian injuries can range from somewhat mild to critically serious. Most of the traumatic injuries are usually from falls. They can cause concussions, fractures, and occasionally, even death.
There are also certain types of aches that you may experience if you ride frequently. They include knee and calf tear injuries. While they are often not very serious, they can prevent you from enjoying horseback riding. It is also important to see a physician for any persistent sprains and cramps you may experience.
Why do the Knees Hurt?
The knee is a joint that can move the lower leg in different directions. But it restricts any significant deviation from the front-to-back motion. As a result, you may struggle to keep your feet parallel to the horse when riding.
Two main ligaments support the knee joint. There is the inner medial collateral ligament and the outer lateral ligament. When you hug the curved barrel with your legs over a long time, the inner ligament tightens and shortens. At the same time, the outer one stretches and elongates.
The shifting of the ligaments will destabilize the joint. When walking or jogging, the weight is not equally distributed across the knee. That places a lot of pressure on other parts of the leg like the shinbone. Eventually, inflammation will start to cause discomfort that may become an unbearable ache, if you don’t get treatment early enough.
If you notice the following symptoms, you may have an injury in the medial collateral ligament:
- Inflammation may cause the swelling of the knee.
- The inner part of the knee may feel sore and tender from the swelling.
- You may occasionally feel like the joint cannot support your body when you put weight on it.
Treatment and Prevention
Whether you’ve just had an accident or you’ve have been observing the aches get worse progressively, the next step you should take is physical rehabilitation. That also means that no more horse riding for now. A mild tear can heal within days. But a grade two rupture of the ligament may take up to four weeks.
You can also benefit from a brace for calf and knees. Warm knee supports together with warm knee braces support and protect the ligaments and can be beneficial for physiotherapy.
Calf Muscle Tear
Another type of painful strain you may experience is the calf muscle tear. You may feel the aches on the outer part of your calves, which can be excruciatingly painful.
The calf muscles are usually engaged when your foot is moving on the stirrups. The severity of the injury can be categorized into three grades. Grade one indicates the damage is minor, while grade three usually implies the tendons and ligaments are ruptured.
Prevention and Treatment
It is important to emphasize even a grade one injury can cause serious problems later, if not properly treated. A physician may recommend physiotherapy and advise you on whether you need a brace for calf muscles that provide additional support.
Using a brace for calf muscles can significantly minimize the discomfort on your lower legs. It can ease cramps and aches. Modern versions of the calf brace utilize infrared technology that encourages blood flow, which minimizes inflammation.
Other than using a brace for calf muscles, you may stretch every time before you ride the horse. Flex your feet back and forth in a repetitive motion. Do another warm-up rolling your legs in circles. Stretching facilitates blood flow, which reduces soreness and swelling.
You can reduce the risk of injuries by adopting a routine that includes strength and training. By exercising regularly, you can condition your body to handle the pressure and minimize the risk of injuries.
Braces for calves work by compressing the lower part of the leg, while only mildly pressing on the knee and calves. The compression action facilitates the flow of blood back to the heart. For the best results, ensure that you get a brace for your calves that fit properly. Also, get your injury checked to establish the real cause of the problem.