Considered a flexural deformity of the coffin joint, a club foot results from shortening of the deep digital flexor tendon, which pulls up the heel and changes the angle of the pastern joint. Club foot may be found in foals or older horses, and the problem can be present from birth or acquired later in life
An article in Trainer Magazine summarized risk factors and treatment methods for injuries to the superficial digital flexor tendon in racehorses. This tendon runs down the back of a horse’s leg from above the knee to the pastern.
Pelvic fractures in horses can result from a fall, a kick from another horse, or an injury sustained when a horse is cast and struggles to rise. Signs of a pelvic fracture might include lameness, reluctance to move, and discomfort.
While lameness in younger horses is often caused by injury or muscle strain related to overuse, older horses are more likely to show the effects cumulative wear-related deterioration of joint tissues and structures.
It’s pretty easy to tell when a horse has laminitis, colic, or another condition that causes acute pain. Detecting mild discomfort may not be as straightforward unless owners know what to look for. Posture, attitude, and behavior are clues to how comfortable a horse may be feeling.
All types of exercise can be somewhat stressful for horses, creating wear and tear on joint structures as the horse goes through years of even fairly mild exercise. As horses age, almost all will develop some joint inflammation and arthritic changes.
Some horses suffer tendon injuries even though they have been carefully conditioned and exercised. Recent British research on tendon injuries in Thoroughbred racehorses has suggested that some horses may be genetically predisposed to tendon injuries.
The coffin bone, also known as the pedal bone or distal phalanx, is a small bone within the horse’s hoof. Sudden lameness is one sign of a coffin bone fracture, especially if it is noticed during or immediately after exercise in a horse that was previously sound.
When soft tissues in the horse’s pastern or heel are subjected to repeated strain or trauma, the horse’s body may respond to the chronic inflammation by depositing calcium.
A wireless sensor developed at Colorado State University may be helpful in tracking the strength and weight-bearing ability of healing fractures. The device may be applicable to monitoring of fractures in horses, injuries that are often difficult to treat effectively.
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