Flexion Tests: Why do we do it?⁠

Flexion Tests: Why do we do it?⁠

June 05, 2024

Flexion Tests: Why do we do it?⁠

Flexion tests are used to apply stress or pressure on an anatomical region of the limb for a set period of time. Following the flexion period the horse is trotted off and observed for the effects of the test on gait. ⁠

They are done to exacerbate a subtle lameness and aid in localising an issue. The flexion test, particularly of the distal limb, should not be over interpreted. More than 60 of 100 horses determined to be sound prior to application of manipulative tests had some degree of lameness evident after distal limb flexion; which is why it is important to include these tests as part of lameness and pre-purchase examinations. ⁠

Results of flexion tests may be recorded as: ⁠

Negative: no change in lameness⁠

Slight positive: slight exacerbation of lameness following flexion that is noticed during only a portion of the trotting course ⁠

Moderate positive: lameness is exacerbated while the horse is trotting away from the examiner, but not on the return ⁠

Severe positive: marked exacerbation of lameness during the outbound and return portions of the trotting course.