Teres Ligament

Full Title: Teres Ligament

Author: Jennifer Keeney

Date of Publication: August 2, 2012

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Teres-Ligament-by-Jennifer-Keeney-2012-08-02.pdf

Research Paper Text:

Within the hip of the canine, is a small, rarely mentioned ligament, the teres, or round ligament. The teres ligament is a short, flat ligament that helps hold the head of the femur in the concave actetabulum, forming the ball and socket joint of the hip. It provides support to the joint, as well as blood & nutrients to the head of the femur in adult dogs. While the teres ligament is deeply embedded in the coxofemoral joint, it can still be badly injured.

Subluxation of the hip can occur leaving the ligament intact, which can happen due to injury, or hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) has been described as, “A varying degree of laxity of the hip joint, permitting subluxation during early life, giving rise to varying degrees of shallow acetabubulum and flattening of the femoral head, finally inevitably leading to osteoarthritis.” Some of the symptoms of CHD are pain, low tolerance to exercise, atrophy of thigh muscles, hesitant to climb stairs, unusual gait, abnormally wide hips and/or a clicking sound when walking. As massage therapists it is out of our scope of practice to diagnose a dog, but important to recognize symptoms in our clients, and recommend they be checked out by a doctor when appropriate. As massage therapists, we can offer dogs with CHD support by assisting them with exercise to build muscle (rocking & water exercises), stretching that avoids extension of the hip, improve blood circulation to the area and provide them comfort, pain relief & support through massage.

In more severe cases of CHD, and injuries where luxation, or dislocation, has occurred and the teres ligament has ruptured, surgery may be needed. In cases of severe CHD an FOH surgery, or an entire hip replacement may be done. In cases where the ligament is ruptured, an artificial teres ligament can be created. The surgeon drills a hole through head & neck of the femur, extends the hole through the acetabulum, then inserts a toggle device through the holes and holds it in place with sutures. This procedure is also used in dogs with unstable hips. We can provide support to dogs before and after surgery through massage. Before & after surgery, we can loosen adhesions, increase circulation, support healthy range of motion, as well as offer pain relief & comfort to tired muscles. After surgery, we can increase circulation to bring nutrients into the area, & flush waste materials out of the area, to reduce pain & inflammation, and encourage healing. Once healing has begun, we help regain range of motion, reduce scar thickening, improve balance & gait and help to return to normal function.

It is very important that any time that a therapist works on a dog that has hip issues that great care is taken assisting the dog on, and off the table to prevent further damage.

As massage therapists we spend our day working on structures of the body that we can see and feel. The teres ligament gives us an opportunity to work on, & offer support, to that we can neither see nor feel directly, but depend on our experience, knowledge and communication to provide effective massage.


  1. www.cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/saortho/chapter_28/28mast.htm#d
  2. www.artreality.com/portfolio/wdwork/vet/caninehipdysplasia.htm
  3. www.petsneedrehabtoo.com/common.htm 4. www.pennhip.org/chd_intro.html

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