The check ligament of the deep flexor tendon in the hindlimb
The accessory ligament in the hind limb, also called check ligament, of the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) helps the DDFT with shock absorption and prevent excessive lengthening of DDFT. It originates from the plantar joint capsule of the tarsus and inserts on the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) one- third of the way down on the third metatarsal (cannon) bone. In the hind limb, the check ligament is poorly developed comparing to the forelimb. Because in the forelimb it is of great importance as a part of the passive stay apparatus, which enables the horse to maintain a standing posture with relatively little muscular exertion.
To assess the shape of the check ligament, the researchers dissected 165 hind limbs. Length, width and thickness of the ligament were measured. In a minority of horses the check ligament was absent or very poorly developed, regardless of the limb’s weight. The ligament could also be very prominent present and with a big variety of morphology.
These variations and general development of the check in the hind limb should be noted during a clinical and, in particular, during ultrasonographic examination of the lame horse.
The authors suggest that the presence and the size of the check ligament in the hindlimb are of minor importance as far as the supporting function is concerned. Because of the the variable morphology and the lack of literature describing consequent impairment of this ligament.
> From: Muylle et al., Vet. J. 3 (2010) 298-302. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd.. Click here for the online summary.