Investigation of the incidence and type of injuries associated with high-speed treadmill exercise testing

S. H. Franklin, S. Z. Barakzi, A. Couroucé-Malblanc, Kathryn Nankervis, J. D. Perkins, C. A. Roberts, E. Vanerck-Westergren, K. J. Allen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

16 Citations (Scopus)


Reasons for performing study: During the past 20 years,
treadmill exercise testing has played an important role in both
the study of equine exercise physiology and the investigation
of poor athletic performance. However, it has been suggested
that some trainers and veterinarians may be reluctant to refer
horses for treadmill exercise testing because of fears that
horses may be at increased risk of musculoskeletal injury
during treadmill exercise.
Objective: To investigate the incidence and types of injuries
sustained by horses undergoing treadmill exercise.
Methods: Data were collated from 9 centres in the UK, France
and Belgium, and the prevalence and types of injury were
Results: A total of 2305 records were reviewed, with 2258 horses
performing treadmill exercise. There was an overall injury
rate of 5.4%. However, the majority of injuries sustained were
minor in nature (4.7%). Only 13 horses (0.6%) sustained
major injuries in association with treadmill exercise. These
included 5 cases of severe exercise-induced myopathy, 4
fractures (of which 1 was catastrophic), 2 tendon injuries, 1
case with undiagnosed severe lameness and 1 with marked
exacerbation of a previously diagnosed lameness.
Two other major incidents were reported but were not
directly associated with treadmill exercise (one had iliac
thrombosis and one collapsed and died as a result of a
pulmonary embolism).
Conclusions: This study confirms that the majority of horses
undergo treadmill exercise without incident. The majority of
injuries that did occur were minor in nature and the incidence
of major injuries was similar to that reported during
competition elsewhere.
Potential relevance: Treadmill exercise is a safe procedure and
does not appear to pose an increased risk of injury in
comparison with overground exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEquine Veterinary Journal
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 7 Nov 201012 Nov 2010


Conference 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology
Abbreviated titleICEEP 2010
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town


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