Horse Navicular

It has been observed that horses with good feet have more blood vessels in the lateral cartilage than those horses with chronic poor feet.

Symptoms of Navicular

Navicular is commonly known as “heel pain” occurring in the back half of the hoof. This pain is caused by the erosion of the navicular bone, the navicular bursa and the inner part of the deep digital flexor tendon. Long toes, long heels, untrimmed frogs and bars, high toe angles all create this insidious disease.

The so-called “pulley-like” configuration of the navicular bone, bursa and flexor tendon serves as a hinge or support for both the deep digital flexor tendon, which flexes the hoof, and the extensor tendon extends it. Ligament strain is both damaging and painful. This also includes the strained connective tissue being inflamed and painful.

Natural care hoof providers treat this problem as a severe hoof imbalance that evolves slowly and abruptly breaks down. A farrier who is knowledgeable will trim the frog and heel frequently as they do with the laminitic hoof. Exercise, massage treatment, and hoof soakings (once or twice a day are absolutely necessary to “kick start” the proper functioning of the hoof mechanism.)

Our horses in the Lower Mainland, BC are subjected to a wet, soft environment and causes internal hoof problems. From my experience with my own horse, his heels grow forward and are run-under because he is moving around on soft, soggy terrain all the time. He doesn’t get the chance to wear his heels on hard terrain. That is just part of his problem.

Don’t despair, navicular will heal with prompt and proper treatment from a skilled hoof care practitioner.

Pete Ramey has an excellent website full of good information and includes clinic schedules.

Navicular is a Latin term which means, “boat-shaped.”