The joints in a horse are cushioned with a type of tissue called articular cartilage. This tough, rubbery tissue covers the ends of bones inside a joint. As the joint moves, the cartilage helps to cushion the bones and allows them to glide smoothly against one another.
Sometimes, the cartilage inside a joint softens and breaks down. This condition is called chondromalacia. The cartilage becomes soft and thick, loosing its ability to resist pressure and can fracture. The cartilage loses its ability to protect the ends of the bones as the joint moves, causing pain.
Known Causes of Chondromalacia
- Repeated injections of steroid drugs into the affected joint
- Injury to a meniscus (C-shaped cartilage inside the stifle joint)
- Infection within the joint