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Treating Podiatry Ailments of the Equine Foot

Treating podiatry ailments of the equine foot


We are talking here about treating the podiatry ailments of the equine. Most people will try to accomplish this without fully comprehending the hoof capsule apparatus and its ability to conform to the animal's dysfunctional centre of mass. So let me take you back and review some of the information we have previously covered.

The hoof capsule is the apparatus with the greatest ability to rearrange itself, not the bone structure that is generally assumed by the industry. If, upon observation of the foot, it appears the bony column of the pastern and hoof capsule are misaligned, then you will find that, in nearly all cases, it is the hoof capsule that has migrated out of alignment. Identifying this will allow critical steps to be taken to return to the normal alignment of the structures involved.


The hoof capsule can progress out of alignment by a substantial amount. This misalignment is why, even on radiographs, these ailments can convey the impression that the bone structure has an inaccurate orientation to the hoof capsule.

As discussed earlier, when the hoof capsule migrates forward, the digital cushion is driven out of position, rendering it incapable of supplying optimal support for the distal phalanx. The forward migration of the hoof capsule about the distal bone structure of the limb results in the inappropriate alignment of the interphalangeal joint and therefore places unjustifiable pressure on the deep digital flexor tendon and the supporting bursar, triggering pain in the palmar section of the foot.

The dorsal migration of the hoof capsule furthermore places compression on the internal bars of the foot, and thus they misalign with the distal limb structures, placing tension on the collateral wings of the distal phalanx.

The subsequent neuro-muscular reloading patterns place untold tension on the sensitive lamina interface. While the extra hoof length in front of the apex of the distal phalanx acts as a lever, applying rearward tension and subsequent strain on the sensitive lamina interface between the internal dorsal wall and the distal phalanx.

The resulting strain placed on the lamina interface shows the distal phalanx being closer to the internal corium of the sole, as viewed in radiographs, while the external observation would be the appearance of a flat sole of the horse's foot. Even if the hoof capsule has not migrated forward, it can nevertheless be out of orientation with other structural components of the distal limb.

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