News Flash: Negative Planter Angles result in possibly the most overlooked cause of lameness in horses!
Ever had a “mystery” hind end lameness??? Keep reading…
Hind Hooves: What parts of the horse’s body are being negatively impacted when the hind hooves aren’t balanced???
Let’s recap the front hooves. When front hooves aren’t balanced and the horse is experiencing heel pain, the lameness will usually present in the hoof. Imbalances in the hind hooves are more complicated.
A negative planter angle (front under run heels) will present HIGHER in the horse’s body. Why? Let’s look at the biomechanics of what is happening in the hind end. The front leg is kind of like a swinging pendulum absorbing force. The hind leg is generating force.
When the hind foot is lifting off the ground (protraction), it starts with flexion of the hip, stifle, and hock. The hip joint is flexed by the iliopsoas muscle, the stifle is then flexed by the femoral bicep, and the hock flexes from the reciprocal apparatus. When the hind foot is going back towards the ground (retraction), the middle glute muscle contracts and pushes the whole leg backwards. The hamstring muscles are the second start in this phase of movement.
The imbalance of the hind hoof causes the hoof to stay on the ground longer. This means that all the muscles we talked about above are working REALLY hard. What happens when the body is working harder than it’s designed to? It tries to find a way to transfer the load somewhere else. Like the Sacroiliac Joint for example (which isn’t actually a joint, but that’s for another time) This is also causing excessive strain on the deep flexor tendon. Excessive strain on the deep flexor tendon can eventually lead to inflammation in the hocks.
All of this leads to the horse developing compensation patterns, which lead to postural changes involving fascia and body mapping, which lead to a very complex lameness presentation. In order to help your horse achieve balance again, it will take time and the right team.
What issues might you be experiencing/observing?
Ok, take a breath. I know. That’s a lot. If you believe your horse is experiencing this issue, you are not alone!
Where should you start as a horse owner if you’re having some hind end lameness?