The ongoing mission of this focus is to develop methods of detecting early microfracture subchondral bone damage in the clinical patient before it becomes a severe or catastrophic injury. The ORC has used imaging techniques and studied fluid biomarkers with promising results, and considered other factors, such as race track surface and conformation.
Pathogenesis of Exercise-Induced Traumatic Disease
To develop an in vitro model of cartilage injury using adult full thickness equine tissue that can be used to simulate the in vivo disease and aid in therapeutic screening.
Exercising foals at an early age may help to improve their musculoskeletal tissue strength later in life, and in order to evaluate this theory, the investigators investigated the effects of early exercise on the metacarpophalangeal joints of horses.
Early conditioning of foals is thought to be needed in order to strengthen their musculoskeletal tissues for the rigors of exercise later in life. Through this study, the investigators found that there were no negative effects of early conditioning on the midcarpal joints of horses.
Although optimization of surfaces alone will never eliminate catastrophic injuries, and may not even be a primary factor in most injuries, the absence of well-accepted characterization methods and basic science of racing surfaces is a significant obstacle to improve performance and safety.