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Because of the typical lack of balance in a low heel and long toe situation, French hoof researcher J.M. Denoix says the foot often loses the ability to restore itself back to normal. This is due to permanent damage to various internal structures such as the way the navicular bone is connected to P2 and P3.
Instead of relying on wedges that normally end up shortening the tendons and ligaments, Denoix favors using an open toe or reverse shoe as a means of providing a floating effect. With a reverse shoe, he says the caudal part (bar) of the shoe needs to be widened as much as possible to provide the maximum floating effect. In addition, the toe needs to be beveled at the branches to gain maximum ease of breakover.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is gaining popularity among equine scientists as a diagnostic tool in dealing with navicular disease, says equine veterinarian Harry Werner of North Granby, Conn. While radiography is still an essential imaging tool for diagnosing foot lameness, he says there’s often no strong correlation between radiographic findings with the navicular bone and actual clinical lameness. Werner says MRI findings indicate that the chronic lameness often associated with navicular disease may actually involve numerous structures in the heel.
When Mark Rikard suffered considerable back pain earlier in his farrier career…