The resolution of equine back pain by chiropractic intervention and the importance of hoof imbalances causing back and pelvic pain have been well established in the arena of animal chiropractic science.
Studies by Crevier-Denoix and Chateau have considered the effects of hoof imbalances on the metacarpophalangeal joint and the digital angles. Recently, Dyson considered the art and science in lameness in horses and concluded that the diagnostic abilities of equine veterinarians are ‘superior to our abilities to heal lameness successfully.’ These studies would indicate there remains an extensive amount of work to be done to demonstrate the effects of such imbalances on the biomechanics of the spine and indeed the whole animal.
Haussler deals extensively with the problem of equine back pain including chiropractic evaluation and management. There has been consideration of numerous causes of equine back pain in the literature with attention given to specific causes and medical management. There has also been consideration given to various types of treatment such as acupuncture and physical therapy. Denoix presents a synopsis of equine spinal function and treatment. The question of hoof disease and pathology as a cause of lameness is a large part of equine veterinary medicine. Consequently attention has been devoted to diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Much attention has also been given to how the horse has been shod, or should be shod, with many veterinarians and farriers advocating corrective shoeing in order to resolve hoof disorders. On the other hand Stassser has questioned the underlying functional theory of types of corrective shoeing and the usefulness of shoeing.
Equine orthopaedic balance
Frequently found recurrent patterns of postural asymmetry, gait abnormalities, fascial bias and pain are encountered on a daily basis, as well as the behavioral outcomes resulting from these disorders. There is a consistent inherent fascial bias in the equine which has been proposed to be the origin of the commonly encountered problem known as the ‘crooked horse’ syndrome. Whereas the same patterns appear over and over it can be difficult in the horse to pinpoint the origin of such findings. There are also consistent upper body indicators, markers or patterns depending on the type of hoof imbalance that is present. The powerful muscles of locomotion are a long way above the feet, and the system of tendons muscles and ligaments which enable flight speed are long and strong.
Correct locomotion requires optimal coordination and function. The center of gravity is high and the fulcrum of locomotion is well forward arguably ventral to the 8th or 9th thoracic vertebrae. Due to the distance the foot is below the center of gravity, only a small amount of imbalance in the foot will cause a change in muscle tone and tension in the upper body muscle system. The question has been where, and when a muscle or fascial problem is found why & what is it related to. The structure, shape and health of the horse’s feet govern not only the correct function of the feet and lower limb but also they can affect the function of the entire body. Similarly a change in upper body tension can affect the balance and alignment of the foot, as well as their structure, or how they actually look. Equine Orthopaedic Balance refers to the entire musculoskeletal system in motion and at rest and not just the hoof pastern axis alignment.Read Full Article