Friday, 24 February 2017

All About ... Windgalls

What are they

Windgalls are swellings of the digital tendon sheath.  The swelling is due to the production of excess synovial fluid if the tendon is damaged.


  • Soft, round fluid filled swelling just above the fetlock 
  • Usually both legs will be affected, can be fore or hindlegs 
  • Swelling is usually easily moved if pressed 
  • Often no lameness 
  • Maybe no heat 
  • Maybe no pain 
  • The swelling can increase after stable rest but reduce after exercise 


Concussion or hard work can cause over extension or overflexion of the tendon.  Incorrectly trimmed feet will cause an imbalance which can lead to damage to the tendon sheath.  Alternatively, trapping a leg can cause the same damage.


If horse is lame the vet should be called to ensure no more serious damage has been done to the tendon or fetlock.



Reducing work and/or work on hard or uneven surfaces will reduce the strain on the tendon.  Rest and inactivity is likely to temporarily increase the size as the fluid builds up.  Although a little unsightly, established windgalls rarely cause further problems.


Ensuring horses are not over worked on hard ground or to the extent which may cause damage to the tendon.  Regular foot trimming by experienced trained farrier taking in to account the horse's conformation. 

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