A locking stifle, in vet-speak called ‘upward fixation of the patella’ (UFP), is a rather common problem in horses, and one that is often not recognized, misdiagnosed as general hind leg lameness or overlooked altogether. In less severe cases the horse’s stifle locks intermittently when the horse is moving.

The patella (knee cap) is a mobile structure that glides over the joint surface during locomotion, but can also be locked in position by various ligaments and tendons.

Observe your horse to see if it holds its leg taut, and if it drags the toes of its hoof on the ground behind it. While the causes are not always understood, it's possible to help your horse overcome a locking stifle with time, patience and exercise.

Sticky or Locking Stifle in a Horse - Cause and Treatment 'Sticky Stifle' is a result of a slight problem with the locking mechanism which fixes the stifle joint and allows the horse to stand sleeping - as a result, the rest of the horse's hind leg is affected. However, in older or poorly developed horses, if the stifle locks regularly and movement is hampered as a result, intervention may be necessary. by Stefanie Reinhold. In its most mild form stifle lock can be quite difficult to diagnose.

Print. In horses with this condition, one of the ligaments in the kneecap catches over the inner ridge of the femur.

The lameness can be on one or both sides, depending on if one or both stifles are affected. Upward fixation of the patella occurs in two main classes of horse: a) Young horses who are immature and not in regular work. In one study 1 that looked at treatments for locking stifles, 40% of horses with locking stifles showed complete recovery, and 20% had marked improvement following corrective shoeing. Rest will be recommended in order to alleviate the swelling and provide the opportunity for the joint to begin to heal. This causes the hind limb to be locked while extended. While the causes are not always understood, it’s possible to help your horse overcome a locking stifle with time, patience and exercise. I have owned her almost 4 years now and since I brought her home Sticky or Locking Stifle in a Horse - Cause and Treatment 'Sticky Stifle' is a result of a slight problem with the locking mechanism which fixes the stifle joint and allows the horse to stand sleeping - as a result, the rest of the horse's hind leg is affected. The horse's stifle is akin to a human knee, and it usually bends forward. The stifle is not meant to lock up while the horse is walking or exercising.

Sometimes this locking mechanism in the stifle gets "stuck" and the horse or pony drags his hind leg and toe. Understanding Locking Stifles.

Horses may also present with milder forms of the condition and not have the obvious extension. If your horse is experiencing symptoms such as stumbling, swelling of the limb, or lameness, he should be seen by an equine veterinarian. I am beginning to suspect Tillie may have a stifle problem - namely locking stifle.