Pathologies of the Hind Foot

An anatomical analysis reveals pathology’s effect on overall hoof health

Farriers and vets are sometimes more concerned with the horse’s front feet. If the hind feet are unshod or overlooked, there are some common pathologies that can negatively affect the structures of the hind foot and potentially the whole horse.

This article anatomically illustrates a specific hind foot conformation and the common pathology associated with it. This conformation usually occurs in horses that toe out and “stand under.”

Figure 1
Figure 2

The morphology associated with this conformation is typified by a strong arch in the toe and a weak or collapsed arch in the heel. The bottom of this right hind foot (Figure 1) shows some outward signs of pathologies within.

We can see rounding of the sole and separation of white line tissue in the lateral heel area. These indicate a descending movement of the lateral heel’s arch. After trimming the hoof capsule to a horizontal plane and removing the hoof wall, the sole’s vertical depth appears slightly thicker and darker in the lateral heel area, indicating stress in this area causing the white line to increase in its vertical depth followed by decreases in the vertical depth of the sensitive lamina (Figure 2).

When the sensitive structures are removed, the pathology to the sole body becomes more evident. It is obvious that the bone position on the sole influences developing pathology to both the sole body and the 3rd phalanx.

Figure 3
Figure 4

Figure 3 indicates that the rounding of the sole…

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