South Shore Equine Clinic & Diagnostic Center
Equine Veterinary Services South Shore Boston Massachusetts

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My horse has a clubbed foot. Should I do anything about this?

Answer:

A foot that is taller and more contracted than its contralateral counterpart is commonly referred to as "clubbed". By definition, a clubbed foot has more than the appropriate amount of heel length; the extra heel results in a broken-forward distal limb axis. A foot becomes clubbed as a result of excessive tension on the deep digital flexor (DDF) tendon tension. The DDF tendon arises from the DDF muscle behind the radius and courses all the way down the back of the limb to insert on the underside of the third phalanx (P3). Excessive tension on the DDF tendon can cause several things, including excessive pressure on the navicular bone, mechanical rotation of the third phalanx, pedal osteitis, and delamination of the hoof wall ("white line" disease). Treatment options for excessive DDF tension include corrective shoeing, massage therapy, acupuncture, and/or surgery.