Horses, feet & the knock on effect!

Horses, feet & the knock on effect!

I came across this video the other day (Hoof balance video!), which first of all is just cool. Second of all it shows how energy effects hoof balance. Being a physio though I automatically think of the knock on effect higher up the limb and into the back.

The shire horse at about 50secs in really rotates the forelimbs before placing the hoof, which highlights one reason why differing action in individual horses may have more tension through the thoracic sling than other horses.

There is a great demonstration of medial force about 1.20mins in which highlights why a horse may wear or wing medially more. Again my thoughts directly go to the effect that has higher up (typical physio), on the medial aspect of the hock, stifle, hip and sacroiliac joint. Where farriery can support that action from the bottom, I would want to attempt to balance that action with strengthening the abductors and internal rotators. Otherwise over time that will wear the inside of the joints more causing an imbalance and leading to injury.

What is very clear throughout the video is the amount of extension occurring through the interphalangeal joints, and the pressure that puts on the tendons and ligaments. This highlights the importance of correct shoeing such as Viitanen et al, (2003) who found that elevating the heel by just 5 degrees effected the pressure on the distal interphalangeal joint significantly. However many vets and owners forget about the other end of support. In the human field, if you train the core muscles, such as in Esculier et al (2015), it reduces peak vertical forces through the distal limb joints and tendons. Much research has been conducted on eccentric loading to tendons for tendon rehabilitation but this is not a routine protocol for digital flexor injuries yet. There is of course not a direct correlation between humans and horses but the principal is the same and the tissue is the same. Hydrotherapy is also not able to condition flexor tendons enough alone.

The forces are increased with the hard ground in the summer, so this is the time to be preventing lameness not just with shoeing but with strength and conditioning.

If you have a horse with tendon issues or foot balance problems that you suspect could be causing performance issues then give us a call on 07813202038 to book now.

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