• Sophie Davies


There are now an estimated 3 million riders in the UK. The equestrian lifestyle is undoubtedly enjoyable in the most part (apart form the early mornings and mucking out!). However, it is no secret that it can also be a dangerous pastime to have. Unfortunately around 350 UK riders are injured each year, with many more suffering from more than the usual bumps and bruises that we all come to expect.

At Physiolistic, we are keen to support you in your enjoyment of the sport and minimise injury and subsequent time out. Of course, some injuries are unavoidable when we are working with such large and often unpredictable animals, but there are ways in which we can put ourselves in the best position to cope with what our four legged friends throw at us! This blog looks at the 5 of the most common riding injuries – both traumatic (unavoidable), and non-traumatic (preventable) – and describes how physiotherapy can help you.

1. Fractured clavicle (broken collarbone)

The clavicle, or collarbone, attaches to the breastbone at one end, and the shoulder blade at the other, essentially connecting the arm to the body.

This is unfortunately one of the most common riding injuries, and is sometimes even known as a ‘jockey’s fracture’ due to it’s high incidence in equestrian sports. Commonly, the cause of the fracture is falling from a horse after the horse spooks, bucks, or refuses a jump, resulting in the rider landing heavily on the outside of their shoulder, or outstretched arm.

Clearly, this is a traumatic injury and not one that is easily avoided. However, it is mostly treated without surgery but will require you to have your arm in a sling for several weeks to allow it to heal. During and after this process, you will need the regular input of a physiotherapist to regain full movement of your shoulder as well as full strength, so you can get back on the horse!

Some of our work together might involve:

- Radiofrequency treatment to assist in the healing of tissues and the reduction of a tightening around the joints

- Gentle range of movement exercises using various pieces of equipment, both in the clinic and at home, to get your arm moving again and ensure optimum posture.

- The use of Compex, our top of the range neuromuscular stimulators, to ‘wake up’ the muscles after being immobilised in a sling, so they are ready for action. All of our physiotherapists are accredited Compex Advanced Trainers and can guide you to get strong again as quickly as possible.

- The use of our diagnostic ultrasound to keep an eye on how well things are healing.

- The use of our in-house gym to up the challenges as you progress through your rehab so you are not only back in the saddle, but succeed in meeting your training and competition goals

And so, yes, a ‘jockey’s fracture’ can be painful, and stop you in your tracks for a few weeks, but by working together, and with all of the above resources at our fingertips, we can g