Horse Knees: The Crooked, Chipped, and Inflamed

Horses’ knees are prone to both congenital and acquired lameness problems. Here’s what you need to know.
Share
Favorite
Please login

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Horse Knees: The Crooked, Chipped, and Inflamed
When injuries affect the complex knee (carpal) joints and surrounding soft tissues, they can compromise a horse’s long-term comfort and athletic performance. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Up to 90% of lamenesses affecting horses’ front legs stem from bone and soft tissue found from the fetlock joint down. This doesn’t mean, however, that the other 10% of injuries occurring higher up aren’t serious. In fact, when they affect the complex knee (carpal) joints and surrounding soft tissues, they can compromise a horse’s long-term comfort and athletic performance.

Why complex? Horses’ knees, which are the equivalent to our wrists, are each made up of two rows of bones that flex in three different places—though markedly less in the bottom joint. Add to that stack of bones an extensive network of tendons and ligaments, and you have a sophisticated structure that’s crucial to the horse’s athleticism … and also one that’s susceptible to injury.  

In this article we will review some equine knee problems owners and veterinarians encounter and how to manage them. We’ll start with those that horses are born with and move on to ones they can acquire

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Nancy S. Loving, DVM, owns Loving Equine Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, and has a special interest in managing the care of sport horses. Her book, All Horse Systems Go, is a comprehensive veterinary care and conditioning resource in full color that covers all facets of horse care. She has also authored the books Go the Distance as a resource for endurance horse owners, Conformation and Performance, and First Aid for Horse and Rider in addition to many veterinary articles for both horse owner and professional audiences.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

What signs does your horse show when he has gastric ulcers? Please check all that apply.
87 votes · 216 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!