The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

18.4.2021 What is an orthopaedic surgeon?

Webinar with Warren Schofield MRCVS

As a Chartered Physiotherapist, I specialise in working with the musculoskeletal system, and it fascinates me. I find it incredible that everything is attached to everything else through the fascia, a thin, cling film like tissue that runs throughout the body. It’s amazing that our bones give our bodies such solidity, and that the ligaments hold the bones together at our joints. It’s wonderful that muscles attach one bone to another and can create movement through shortening and lengthening. The fact that nerves carry messages from the brain to the rest of the body, and from the rest of the body back to the brain, just blows my mind.

As a physio, I see my role as supporting the body in its own healing process. I want to help to maintain optimal range and quality of movement through the spine and the limbs, so that the body can work to the best of its ability. We naturally fix our own bodies, especially during sleep, if we don’t impede our ability to do so. Pain, stiffness, and restriction in range of movement can create blockages in the healing process, and I try to ease these as far as I am able to do so, for the body to be able to do what it needs to do.

Sometimes, though, physical therapy is not enough, and medication or surgery is needed. In terms of the musculoskeletal system, that’s where orthopaedics comes in. Orthopaedics is the medical specialty that focuses on injuries and diseases of your body’s musculoskeletal system. This complex system, which includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves, allows you to move, work, and be active. An orthopaedic surgeon might specialise in hip, or knee, or spinal operations, for example.

When it comes to horses, orthopaedic surgery involves surgical procedures performed to diagnose and treat lame horses, including those with fractures, joint, tendon or ligament disease, and spinal surgery. Warren Schofield is a vet who is a European Specialist in Equine and Large Animal Surgery. He is particularly interested in the relationship of lameness problems to performance problems, behavioural issues and the overall welfare of the horse. You can dip into his wealth of information by listening to him on a webinar with Intelligent Horsemanship at 7.30pm on Wednesday 21st April. For more information visit

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2021

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