Dynamic Support System

Dynamic Support System (DSS)

Equine Tendon and Suspensory Ligament Rehabilitation System

The concept of loading with an adjustable and restricted peak load during rehabilitation of soft tissue injuries has long been accepted as the “golden standard” in human medicine. Implementing this concept in Equine rehabilitation is very challenging given the uncontrollable activity and subsequent loading of the tendon/ligament in horses.

The concept of a device allowing for fetlock support and proactive exercise during all stages of equine rehabilitation was first patented by Andrew Daly in 2003 and used under authorisation since 2012 by Equine Tendon and its founder Henk Offereins DVM, MVSc, MRCVS. Equine Tendon is specialised in the use of devices and technologies to prevent injury and improve outcome of equine soft tissue rehabilitation. 

The last decade our team of veterinarians and technicians in collaboration with Equestride have developed many customised and successful exercise and management programs compounding to more than 100.000 documented hours of use of DSS technology.

DSS technology is essentially an articulated load-limiting device for fetlock joints of all types of horses and other equids. Due to being a fully adjustable support system for the equine distal limb, it can help the horse through all stages of tendon and suspensory ligament recovery including walk, trot, and canter exercise.

DSS Devices have a number of innovative benefits that make their use a breakthrough in the treatment and management of equine tendon and ligament injuries including utilising lightweight material and technology pioneered in the automotive industry along with a unique “support membrane” to limit fetlock extension.

Furthermore, the amount of support can be adjusted enabling the healing soft tissues to be gradually loaded to greater amounts during the rehabilitation process which will optimise the quality of the healing tissue, maximising the chance of a successful return to full work while still providing protection at higher loads.

It can be fitted on both front and hind legs, left and right at the same time and it takes only moments to apply or remove. 

Following many years of meticulous research, design, and development in collaboration with the world’s leading equine scientists, current generation of DSS Devices offer unparalleled benefits to horses, veterinarians, physiotherapists and owners.

The Supportive Membrane (SM)

This feature enables the device to be load-limiting.

  • The SM is a unique triangular-shaped component of the devices and utilises wraparound strength at the pastern collar.
  • The SM is exceptionally strong, yet flexible enough to allow a full range of movement.
  • The SM is responsible for the amount of extension of the device at the various settings.
  • The SM, along with some of the metal components can wear out and is one of the reasons regular maintenance and refurbishment are required.

Protect

The DSS device is designed to resist overextension of the fetlock joint when the limb is loaded using a force deflection principle and so protecting and supporting the tendon or ligament. The device optimises recovery and healing of the flexor tendons and suspensory ligament giving your horse a better chance of recovery and less chance of re-injury. DSS devices are capable of resisting extension of the fetlock joint under loads experienced at walk, trot and canter.

Professional

As an Equine Tendon client, you will never be simply just left with an DSS device. Our team of industry leading professionals includes specialised veterinarian, physiotherapists, riders, jockeys and trainers and will give you ongoing support and advice dependent on your horse’s rehabilitation journey. Our team will communicate with your veterinarian and other professionals supporting your horse’s management and together come to a fully customised, practical, and successful protocol. Equine Tendon provides video calls with experts to thoroughly show you how to fit the device to your horse and our service includes ongoing veterinarian and technical support during use. Our veterinarian team will develop a rehabilitation and management programme customised to your horse and you will receive ongoing support and follow up meetings to determine how your horse is recovering.

Proactive

The device does not only have variable support enabling a fully controlled exercise regime during injury rehabilitation but can be used as a proactive protective boot for other circumstances. The device can therefore be used as a preventative measure to tendon and ligament injuries. For example, they can be used on the hind limbs of stallions during breeding or used for broodmares during pregnancy. Being proactive is extremely important as you can prevent potential problems before they become real problems.

Image Credit: Equestride

HOW MUCH SUPPORT DOES YOUR TYPICAL BOOT ACTUALLY OFFER?

The purpose of any supportive boot/bandage should be to prevent overloading of the tendon by offering sufficient support. These videos show three popular tendon support means to the test, being a medicine boot, exercise bandages and the Equestride Device developed by Andrew Daly to find out how they perform under peak load.

Using an equine leg simulator performed under peak load, the Equestride device was the clear winner. Bear in mind – should the fetlock have extended any further than the peak load pictured in the first image, “unrestricted leg”, the tendon would have been injured.

Different Applications of the DSS technology

The device has 4 possible settings:

  • Setting 1 – Only provides support at full fetlock extension. Used during the later stages of rehabilitation when the horse is trotting and cantering.
  • Setting 2 – Provides support at the walk and trot.
  • Setting 3 – Provides some support to the fetlock joint at all times.
  • Setting 4 – Provides a significant level of support when the horse is standing. Used when there is a significant hyperextension of the fetlock joint.

The setting on the device should be gradually reduced during the rehabilitation period to increase the proportion of load taken by the palmar/plantar soft tissues.

Please visit our DSS Resources page to see how to properly fit the device. 

Scientific Validation

The Equestride (a Dynamic fetlock Support System) has been tested by Professor Roger Smith, the European Specialist in Equine Orthopedic Surgery and Professor of Equine Orthopedics at The Royal Veterinary College, heads a world-renowned research group investigating the diagnosis and management of tendon injuries in horses and humans.

Please visit our articles and case studies page for more scientific validation. 

Construction

All devices are manufactured from the most modern, high strength materials and conform to the highest biomechanical standards.

The devices consist of semi flexible carbon fiber composite sheaths that enclose the cannon and pastern bones. These are articulated at a hinge joint that pivots bio-mechanically with the horses fetlock joint.

Contact us for more information