Hot Topics in Hoof Care, Part 4: The Abnormal Horse Hoof

Hoof care experts discuss common equine foot issues, including club feet, underrun heels, and mismatched feet.

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The Abnormal Horse Hoof: Club Foot
Club feet range from mild (slightly upright, top) to severe (dorsal wall of 80 degrees or more). | Photo: Courtesy Steve O'Grady

With a sound understanding of hoof biomechanics, “normal” farriery, and imaging in place, the workshop turned toward managing common hoof problems. Several panelists addressed the abnormalities from their unique perspectives.

Club Feet

Definition and causes

A club foot is upright conformation associated with a flexural deformity (a musculotendinous unit shortening) of the DIPJ. “The condition is a result of a contracture or shortening of the musculotendinous unit of the deep digital flexor tendon and muscle,” Silverman said.

Steve O’Grady, DVM, of Virginia Therapeutic Farriery, in Keswick, explained that a club foot will be upright and have a broken forward hoof-pastern axis (the hoof angle is steeper than the angle to the pastern, creating a change of angle at the coronary band); uneven growth rings; concave dorsal hoof wall; poor hoof wall consistency; and generally a recessed frog

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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