What is Ringbone?
Ringbone in the equine hoof is a growth on the bone on the pastern or coffin joint. Sometimes, the severity of the growth can grow so large and encircle the bone, which gives it its name. The type of ringbone can be determined by its location. If it is occurring on the lower region of the large pastern bone or the upper part of the small pastern bone, this is said to be "high ringbone." "Low ringbone" occurs on the lower part of the small pastern bone or the upper part of the coffin bone. In high ringbone, it is much easier to detect because low ringbone occurs in the hoof. However, low ringbone can be easily detected if the growth has become so large that it creates a bony bump on the coronet of the horse.
- Poor shoeing or conformation
- Excessive stress on tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules of pastern area that can cause periosteum strain.
- Strain on the extensor tendon, the superficial digital flexor tendon, the collateral ligaments, and the distal sesamoidean ligaments.
- Osteoarthritis of the pastern and coffin joint is a common cause of articular ringbone
What are the symptoms of ringbone?
- Usually in the front legs of older horses going through extensive training.
- One leg is usually more affected with ringbone than the other.
- In high ringbone the pastern will have less mobility and will show pain when the pastern is moved or rotated. Early cases of this will have low lameness scores, but as ringbone progresses so does lameness. In the early cases sometimes ringbone can be felt by palpation when compared to opposite pastern.
- In low ringbone lameness will be moderate in early stages. In the more advanced stages of this the bony growth will be able be seen on the coronet.
What are treatments of Ringbone?
There are many treatments of ringbone, however, ringbone is degenerative unless caused by trauma. Although there are many ways of treatment, it does not cure ringbone. The treatments merely slow down the progress of the bony growths and alleviates the horse's pain, which include:
- Proper shoeing
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help alleviate the horse's pain.
- Joint injections directly at the pastern joint
- Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, which is a highly intensive percussion device that can help remodel new bone and help with pain.