Clubbed foot is a flexural deformity of the coffin joint resulting in a raised heel. The foot will initially exhibit a bulge at the coronary band, and the heels will have a contracted appearance to them. In addition, the hoof wall fails to expand when it comes in contact with the ground, resulting in the loss of flexibility in the soft tissue surrounding the coffin joint. The hoof wall at the toe develops a dished appearance, and the tip of the coffin bone becomes more prone to injury.
Major factors believed to be involved with clubbed foot include genetics, diet, developmental orthopedic disease (DOD) and its related causes, or other causes of lameness resulting in pain and a reduced weight bearing on the foot. The number one cause of a clubbed foot is genetics.
This condition usually is discovered in young horses when they are about four to six months of age. The earliest signs usually are a prominent coronary band and an increased (more upright) angle to the hoof. Eventually, the dorsal wall of the hoof will become dished, and the walls will begin to grow exceedingly long.
A dished hoof is a flare or concave bend, or dip, in the hoof or a flare at the toe.
Flares weaken the hoof wall and can lead to cracks. A dished toe can affect a horse’s movement and long-term soundness by causing the toe of the shoe to be too far forward.