Not all foals are born with straight legs.
Crooked legs often worry a breeder or owner.
Many times, these irregularities end up being temporary and correct themselves, but sometimes, therapy must be taken early on to correct a more serious irregularity.
An angular limb deformity is defined as the condition where the bones of the forelimb are not aligned in a straight line, When the forelimbs are viewed from the front of the horse, a line dropped from the point of the shoulder should bisect the forearm (radius), knee (carpus), cannon bone (metacarpus), ankle (fetlock), pastern bones and hoof. If any of these bones are out of line, an angular limb deformity is present.
Deformities can be classified as congenital or acquired, depending on the foal’s age when the deformity is recognized. Congenital deformities are those present at birth. Acquired deformities develop after birth, in the first few weeks to several months of age. Because most angular deformities originate in the carpal (knee) area, this discussion will concentrate on angular deformities centered in the carpal region; however, similar principles apply to angular deformities in the fetlock region and in the hind limb.
Normal Development of the Bones of the ForelimbSince deformities are a result of abnormal bone growth and development, a knowledge of the normal growth and development will be useful in understanding the development of deformities.
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Causes of Angular Limb Deformities
Balanced and coordinated growth of bones in the limb is necessary for normal conformation. If growth within a bone is not balanced, the bone becomes abnormally shaped. The joint formed by this bone with adjacent bones then becomes abnormally angulated.
Read more about limb deformities on America's Horse Daily.