A Pain in the Back End

Four veterinarians discuss the all-too-common problem of palmar foot pain

UNDERRUN HEELS. Above is a photo of underrun heels showing damage to the base of the heels. Below is a lateral view of a hoof capsule with underrun heels. As heels collapse, they lose their ability to bear weight.

How many horses in your practice battle palmar foot pain, riding that razor edge between working soundness and days off? Pain originating in the palmar or rearward section of the foot isn’t a very specific diagnosis, but it certainly affects a lot of horses — and thereby a lot of farriers.

And you aren’t alone — veterinarians are often called in to help diagnose the exact cause of palmar foot pain as well. In an effort to improve success rates with these often-difficult cases, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) held a full afternoon of presentations on palmar foot pain during its 2006 annual convention (held during December in San Antonio, Texas). Following is a report of that session, which included presentations on palmar foot function, diagnosis of problems, treatment options, and shoeing options. Presenters included:

  • Stephen O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, member of the International Equine Veterinarians Hall Of Fame and owner of Northern Virginia Equine in Marshall, Va.
  • Andrew Parks, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, member of the International Equine Veterinarians Hall Of Fame, professor of large animal surgery and head of the department of large animal medicine at the University of Georgia.
  • Kent Carter, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, professor of internal medicine and a lameness clinician at Texas A&M…
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Christy West

Christy West is a freelance writer and the Web site editor for The Horse. She is also a former editor of American Farriers Journal.

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