Using Self-Adjusting Palmar Angles to Treat Heel Pain

“How do we use the palmar angle (the angle the wings of the coffin bone make with the ground) to influence the mechanics (of the foot)?” asked Ric Redden, DVM, host of the 16th annual Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium and founder of the International Equine Podiatry Center in Versailles, Ky.
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“How do we use the palmar angle (the angle the wings of the coffin bone make with the ground) to influence the mechanics (of the foot)?” asked Ric Redden, DVM, host of the 16th annual Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium and founder of the International Equine Podiatry Center in Versailles, Ky.

First, you have to define which palmar angle you are discussing–the one between the coffin bone and the ground surface of the foot, and/or the one between the coffin bone and the ground. On a barefoot horse, or one with a flat shoe, they will be the same; however, on a horse with a wedge pad or other non-flat shoe, they could be very different.

Next, consider the mechanics already at work inside the hoof. “Let’s consider the support sling of the digit,” Redden began. “The deep flexor tendon cradles the navicular bone, pushing it against the articular (joint) surfaces of P2 and P3,” he continued. “(The navicular bone) is attached by a very secure anchor to the semilunar crest of the coffin bone, which in turn is anchored to the wall with a very vascular, sensitive laminar network. The pressure exerted on all these structures is influenced by body weight, speed, footing, conformation, and the unique way in which each foot lands, torques, and loads.”

The foot’s equilibrium “is based on the fact that all members or structures of the support mechanism perform as a healthy, fully functional unit, he added. “When one member fails, the next one is challenged, and soon a cascading series of events is well on its way

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Written by:

Christy West has a BS in Equine Science from the University of Kentucky, and an MS in Agricultural Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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