Reflection on Pathophysiology Assignment

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

As a student veterinary physiotherapist, it is vital to have a detailed understanding of what could go wrong regarding the musculoskeletal tissues at different levels, including cellular. This should be supplemented with knowledge of the phases of repair of the tissues.

Therefore, the task set in the ‘Pathophysiology of Injury and Disease’ module assignment was to write a critical review of literature on the phases of repair, relating to a specific structure and what rehabilitation techniques would be most appropriate.

I found this assignment difficult to begin with as I was not sure where to start. I had thought about basing it upon injury to the suspensory ligament as this is something that I have experience recently with my pony, Jasper. However, I decided to broaden my knowledge and based my assignment on the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT). It has been reported as the primary cause for acute lameness (Dyson, 2002) in the equine athlete (Crevier-Denoix et al., 1997; Ely et al., 2004; Sharma & Maffull, 2005; Dakin et al., 2012; Watts et al., 2017), particularly in national hunt horses (Williams et al., 2001; Ely et al., 2009); and as this is the field I would like to work in, I felt that evaluating literature on the subject would be beneficial as it is most likely an injury I will come across once qualified. I also found researching the most appropriate rehabilitation techniques invaluable.

I enjoyed writing this assignment as I felt that not only did it expand on my rehabilitation and pathophysiology knowledge, it also furthered my critical appraisal skills.

I struggled with the low word limit, as I was only allowed 1500 words, but I understand that being concise is a necessary skill for academic writing, so it was beneficial to have the challenge.

I was delighted with the feedback and mark for my assignment, I have a few points to work on in the future but overall, I was pleased with the work and I found the task extremely beneficial.


Crevier-Denoix, N., Collobert, C., Pourcelot, P., Denoix, J., Sanaa, M., Geiger, D., Bernard, N., Ribot, X., Bortolussi, C. and Bousseau, B. (1997). Mechanical properties of pathological equine superficial digital flexor tendons. Equine Veterinary Journal, 29(S23), pp.23-26.

Dakin, S., Werling, D., Hibbert, A., Abayasekara, D., Young, N., Smith, R. and Dudhia, J. (2012). Macrophage Sub-Populations and the Lipoxin A4 Receptor Implicate Active Inflammation during Equine Tendon Repair. PLoS ONE, 7(2), p.e32333.

Dyson, S. (2002). Lameness and poor performance in the sport horse: Dressage, show jumping and horse trials. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 22(4), pp.145-150.

Ely, E., Avella, C., Price, J., Smith, R., Wood, J. and Verheyen, K. (2009). Descriptive epidemiology of fracture, tendon and suspensory ligament injuries in National Hunt racehorses in training. Equine Veterinary Journal, 41(4), pp.372-378.

Ely, E., Verheyen, K. and Wood, J. (2004). Fractures and tendon injuries in National Hunt horses in training in the UK: a pilot study. Equine Veterinary Journal, 36(4), pp.365-367.

Sharma, P. and Maffulli, N. (2005). Tendon Injury and Tendinopathy: Healing and Repair. The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, 87(1), pp.187-202.

Watts, A., Millar, N., Platt, J., Kitson, S., Akbar, M., Rech, R., Griffin, J., Pool, R., Hughes, T., McInnes, I. and Gilchrist, D. (2017). MicroRNA29a Treatment Improves Early Tendon Injury. Molecular Therapy, 25(10), pp.2415-2426.

Williams, R., Harkins, L., Hammond, C. and Wood, J. (2001). Racehorse injuries, clinical problems and fatalities recorded on British racecourses from flat racing and National Hunt racing during 1996, 1997 and 1998. Equine Veterinary Journal, 33(5), pp.478-486.

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