Kinesiology Taping Intervention on a Foal with Scoliosis

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Lynne Harrisson is an internationally qualified physiotherapist and a member of various professional organsations such as the Australian Physiotherapy Association and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. She has over 10 years of experience as a Senior Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, holds a Master of Science in Veterinary Physiotherapy from the University of Liverpool, and is regularly invited to speak internationally on her work. She currently lives and works on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland and is an avid horse rider and dressage participant.

Case study: foal with scoliosis

In Lynne’s case a foal called Anthony was a week old when he was referred to a qualified physiotherapist. He was born with a severe spinal scoliosis due to complications during the latter part of his gestation period. Upon delivery, the vets x-rayed his spine to see if there were any significant structural problems that might have resulted in him being put to sleep. Thankfully, there weren’t. However, there was little the vets could offer him medically, so he was referred to a physiotherapist.

Name of the case

Physiotherapy of a Foal with Spinal Scoliosis

Physiotherapy assessment

Upon initial assessment, Anthony was found have a significant scoliosis of his thoracolumbar spine. This resulted in severe tightness of the spinal muscles along his back, ribs, and pelvis on the left. He also had moderate wind-sweeping of his front legs from his knees downwards, and pressure sores on his right stifle due to his inability to change position.

Physiotherapy aims to restore normal, functional movement patterns. Due to his tight muscles, Anthony was unable to move freely or change his position easily. When muscles are very tight, they are very painful. It is essential to help reduce pain to restore movement and function.


Anthony was initially provided with manual therapy. He was given spinal mobilisations and soft tissue release. Together, these techniques reduce discomfort and increase flexibility. He received kinesiology taping too. The tape was applied to reduce the tone (tightness) in his muscles on the left side of his trunk. Anthony’s owner followed a daily exercise programme, ensuring that he received regular stretching, soft tissue release and taping. Anthony became very skilled with his dynamic mobility exercises (aka carrot stretches) from a very young age!

By 5 weeks old, it was safe for him to have some paddock time with his Mum. This was a great achievement. As well as physiotherapy, Anthony was also referred to the farrier for corrective
trimming of his hooves to help encourage his front legs to grow straight.

Over the next 8 weeks, Anthony significantly improved. His scoliosis reduced from 25-degree lateral flexion to 3 degrees, and his flexibility, muscle strength and trunk stability continued to improve. As a result of regular corrective farriery, the windsweeping resolved. Anthony was able to move freely and consequently, his pressure sores healed.

Over the next six months, Anthony continued with his progressive physiotherapy programme. By the time he was weaned at six months old, the severely scoliotic foal had significantly improved. He was strong, flexible and straighter!

Anthony is now 3 years old. Whilst he is left with some mild skeletal deformities, he is otherwise healthy and is expected to go on to lead a very happy and healthy life.

foal with spinal scoliosis initial assessment

Anthony at initial assessment (on left), at 4 weeks (top right), & 8 weeks (bottom right)


Anthony was born with severe spinal scoliosis due to complications during the latter part of his gestation period. He was referred to a qualified physiotherapist who used manual therapy, kinesiology taping, and daily exercises to reduce pain and improve flexibility. After 8 weeks of physiotherapy, Anthony had significantly improved, his scoliosis reduced from 25-degree lateral flexion to 3 degrees, and his windsweeping resolved. He continued with his progressive physiotherapy program until he was 6 months old and is now 3 years old with mild skeletal deformities but is expected to lead a healthy and happy life.

Physiotherapy intervention, including Vetkin tape (10cm width) applied using sedation technique

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Please note that applications provided on our website are not clinically proven. All mentioned applications are based on extensive evaluation and case studies with licensed physiotherapists and/or other health professionals.

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