Lameness Solutions

We understand your love for horses because we’re passionate horse people too. Dealing with lameness can be frustrating, nerve-wracking and potentially time-consuming. Learn more about the treatment options your veterinarian can use to help return your horse to optimal performance.

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What is horse lameness?

Equine lameness can occur when your horse experiences pain in his limbs or joints, resulting in a change in his stride causing a head nod or a hip hike. While some signs of lameness may be obvious, such as limping or poor performance, others may be more subtle, such as a change in behavior associated with work.

Recognizing these subtle signs may be difficult, but your veterinarian is an expert at identifying which limb is lame and pinpointing the source. Whether the lameness arises suddenly or has slowly progressed, schedule an exam to prevent any potential further joint or soft tissue damage.

    What causes lameness in horses?

    According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), lameness results from pain in any part of a limb that contains nerve endings. Lameness can stem from overuse injuries or natural wear and tear from aging. Here are a few examples of what can cause lameness in horses:

    • Osteoarthritis (OA)

    • Synovitis

    • Tendon, ligament or other soft tissue injury

    • Tendon sheath and bursal inflammation

    • Bone bruising

    • Stress fracture or acute traumatic injury

    • Poor conformation

    • Unbalanced trimming/shoeing

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    Did you know?

    Osteoarthritis (OA) is the leading cause of lameness in more than 60% of horses.1

    Healing with horsepower

    Horses have naturally occurring properties in their bodies that can be isolated and used to reduce pain and promote recovery from common conditions such as lameness due to OA. Your veterinarian can use your horse’s blood or bone marrow to help heal lameness, joint pain and soft tissue injury with a simple injection, stall-side or at their clinic. This natural management solution offers remarkable healing properties with minimal downtime that can help your horse live a more comfortable life.

      Our family of Regenerative Medicine Devices

      Regenerative Medicine

      Ask a Vet

      Pro-Stride® APS is a device that creates a cell solution used to manage equine lameness and osteoarthritis (or OA) in horses by concentrating the healing properties from your horse’s own blood.8

      Regenerative Medicine

      Ask a Vet

      Restigen® PRP is a platelet isolation device that creates a concentrated platelet-rich plasma (PRP) solution from your horse’s own blood. It is primarily used by veterinarians to help manage soft tissue injuries.2,3

      Regenerative Medicine

      Ask a Vet

      By producing a concentration of regenerative cells from your horse’s own bone marrow, the CenTrate® BMA device can help initiate the healing process of cartilage lesions, boney defects and tendon injuries.4,5

      How do these devices work?

      • Depending on the device selected, your veterinarian will draw blood or bone marrow aspirate from your horse.

      • Your veterinarian will process the device in a centrifuge to create a concentrated solution of the horse’s natural healing properties.

      • Your veterinarian will inject this cell solution into the injured area to address the damage that is causing inflammation and pain, all in under 30 minutes stall-side or at their clinic.

      When will I see results ?


      To help restore the injured area to as near normal as possible.


      Your veterinarian will recommend the appropriate amount of time off post-injection as well as the best return-to-work rehabilitation program


      Typically, with Pro-Stride APS used for OA, you’ll see positive results in 2–4 weeks7, sometimes sooner. For other soft tissue or bone injuries treated with Restigen PRP or CenTrate BMA, recovery can be longer and more variable depending on the location and severity of the injury.

      Key benefits of Regenerative Medicine Devices

      All of these devices can be used to process cell solutions which are then administered in under 30 minutes, stall-side or at your veterinarian’s clinic on the day of the initial appointment. The resulting cell solution is injected while fresh—never frozen or freeze-dried—in order to help maximize and preserve the function of the naturally contained growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines. There’s no need for delayed treatment due to overnight processing, no requirement for your horse to undergo a series of injections spanning several weeks, and no risk to product integrity resulting from freezing and thawing. Additionally, there’s no harmful immune response, as your horse's own blood is used, and it does not impact your horse’s normal metabolic function.6

      Processed and administered in just 30 minutes
      An all-natural alternative to steroids that comes from your own horse
      Proven to target the source of your horses pain and inflammation7
      Results up to a year, depending on the case7

      Horse-powered care you can count on


      How do veterinarians treat joint pain in horses?

      Veterinarians use different treatment methods for lameness and joint pain. These can include age-old methods like steroids and hyaluronic acid injections; alternative medicine techniques such as acupunture and chiropractic adjustments; shock wave, laser or magnetic therapy; and, most recently, orthobiologic modalities using Regenerative Medicine Devices. Treating problems early is important before they become life-long issues. Regenerative Medicine Devices use your horse’s own blood or bone marrow to help heal lameness, joint pain and soft tissue injuries.

      Along with appropriately addressing the injury causing lameness, rest and rehabilitation are important to minimize any further injury or pain and to help regain strength and function of the injured area.

      What are the signs of joint disease in horses?

      We recommend contacting your veterinarian if you’re concerned about your horse’s health; however, some common signs of joint disease in horses can include:

      • Lameness, visible limp, head nod or hip hike when walking or trotting
      • Gimpy or tender footed
      • Stiff when starting out, but warms out of it
      • Stumbling or tripping
      • Hesitates going towards a jump
      • Change in attitude when being ridden
      • Short strided when going in a certain direction
      • Bunny hops, cross or counter canters
      • Palpable heat, pain or swelling around a joint or over soft tissue (like behind the cannon bone)

      What are the most common causes of lameness in horses?

      Lameness in horses can originate from a variety of pain sources. It could be a single issue or a combination of things. Some of the most common causes of lameness are OA, synovitis, tendon, ligament or other soft tissue injury, tendon sheath or bursal inflammation, bone bruising, stress fracture, or acute traumatic fracture. If you notice signs of lameness or suspect any issues, seek a veterinarian’s evaluation and guidance for proper assessment and care.

      Can a horse heal from lameness?

      Lameness in horses cannot be prevented. However, you can take the first step toward a horse’s ability to heal by helping to spot for signs of lamenesss and pain. By working with your veterinarian to help diagnose problems early, they can determine the most effective treatments and rehabilitation program to get your horse back to his previous level of performance. 

      Can I ride a horse with lameness?

      If you suspect a problem, stop riding your horse to help minimize further injury or pain and seek the advice of your veterinarian. They will determine if an exam is required and what additional treatments you may be able to provide until your appointment.  

      When should I contact my veterinarian if I suspect my horse has lameness, joint pain or an injury?

      If you suspect a problem in your horse’s stride, attitude or performance, we recommend promptly seeking the advice of your veterinarian and scheduling an exam. They will be able to assess and identify the underlying issue, so you can discuss available treatment options to get your horse back to his previous level of performance. 


      1. McIlwraith W., et al. (2016) Joint Disease in the Horse (2nd edition). Chapter 3, Pg. 34. ISBN 978-1-4557-5969-6.
      2. Bosch G., et al. Effects of platelet‐rich plasma on the quality of repair of mechanically induced core lesions in equine superficial digital flexor tendons: a placebo‐controlled experimental study. J Orthop Res. 2010, 28(2): 211-217.
      3. Chahla J., et al. A call for standardization in platelet-rich plasma preparation protocols and composition reporting: a systematic review of the clinical orthopaedic literature. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2017, 99(20): 1769-1779.
      4. Kon E., et al. Subchondral and intra-articular injections of bone marrow concentrate are a safe and effective treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a prospective, multi-center pilot study. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 2021, 29: 4232–4240.
      5. Bourebaba, L., et al., Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) in Horses - Molecular Background of its Pathogenesis and Perspectives for Progenitor Stem Cell Therapy. Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2019, 15:374-390.
      6. Rowland A., et al. Cross-Matching of Allogenic Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Eliminates Recipient Immune Targeting. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. 2021, 10:694-710.
      7. Bertone A., et al. Evaluation of a single intra-articular injection of autologous protein solution for treatment of osteoarthritis in horses. Am J Vet Res. 2014;75(2):141-151.