Advice on contracted heel

Advice on contracted heel

Post by l.. » Thu, 02 Feb 1995 09:55:53

>...I have an 19 month old QH
>colt that has suddenly started to show signs of having a slightly contracted
>heel.  When I say contracted, I mean contracted as in his heel does not spread
>out (side to side) as his other heels do...

>I called my Vet, and he examined him about a month ago.  He maintains that there
>is no sign of a deep flexor tendon problem, which he said can cause this type of

>The Farrier says that he has a slight club foot and will always be that way!  He
>says that we should wait until he is two, and put bevelled shoes on him to force
>the heel out.  

>My question is will waiting this long be the right thing to do.  Has anyone ever
>seen this before, and if so, is there anything I can do about it before he is
>fully developed?...

I hate foot developmental deformaties.  But even more than that, I HATE
the confusion of terminology, diagnosis, and remedy that goes on among
and between veterinarians and farriers over foot developmental deformaties.
When I think of the years of wild goose chases I was sent on over the casual
misuse of terms by this and that vet or farrier when my filly started going

There should be _no_ need for ambiguity as to whether this colt has a deep
flexor contracture (in one guise a "club foot").  All you have to do is get
an x-ray from the side to see if the base of the coffin bone is parallel
to the ground or not.  Parallel:  no club foot.  Not parallel:  some degree
of club-footedness.

It is possible to have contracted heels without club foot.  Most Grade II
and above club feet do have the appearance of contracted heels.

Of course, just because you know whether or not you have a club foot
or "simple" contracted heels does not answer the question of how to
treat a club foot.  "Treating" club foot is whole nother can of worms
that is an even worse mess than getting an accurate diagnosis in the
first place.  (I know nothing at all about how to treat simple
contracted heels, though that sounds like what your farrier is
actually proposing to do, even though he calls it a club foot.)

I am not a veterinarian or a farrier.  You really need the advice
of experts.  The problem is finding an expert who is really expert.
I'll e-mail you my old club foot FAQ.  Maybe at least you'll
understand better what some of the issues are when talking to the

Linda B. Merims
Waltham, MA


Advice on contracted heel

Post by Gail Perl » Thu, 02 Feb 1995 10:58:52


Could I get an E-Mail of your FAQ on club feet?  Thanks!

Gail Perlee