Friday, 29 July 2016

All About ... Pedal Osteitis

What is it

Pedal Osteitis is inflammation or bruising of the pedal bone.  If left untreated the inflammation can cause demineralisation of the bone.  It is usually the forelimbs which are affected because they carry most of a horse’s weight. 


These signs are similar to those seen in Navicular and Laminitis amongst other problems so it is important to consult your vet.

  • Intermittent lameness often in both legs 
  • As it progresses lameness will become more obvious 
  • Pain 
  • Inflammation


  • Conformation faults 
  • Concussion from working on hard ground 
  • Poor hoof care or shoeing can cause corns – leading to inflammation of the pedal bone 
  •  Abscesses or puncture wounds can also lead to pedal osteitis

This can be difficult to diagnose. Nerve blocks can help in addition to x-ray’s.  X-ray’s will show that the edge of the pedal bone is rough. However, in some horses the edge of the  pedal bones do appear rough – and they do not show any signs of lameness, suggesting this is ‘normal’ for them.

Some horses will be able to resume normal work and some won’t.   Often horses with pedal osteitis are sound when the going is soft but work on hard ground will cause a reoccurrence. 


This will vary depending on the cause of the inflammation. 
  • Rest 
  • Corrective shoeing and trimming to improve balance of the foot.  Bar shoes may help by giving more support to the foot.  
  • Pads can also be used to support and protect the foot. 
  •  Anti –inflammatory drugs


  • Avoid repetitive or excessive work on hard ground 
  • Regular trimming and shoeing to maintain correct foot balance 
  • Consider the horse’s conformation and how this may affect his ability to ‘do the job’

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