Monday, 7 December 2015

Equine Sheared Heels

Sheared Heels


A Sheared heel is the mechanical breakdown of the Frog Stay, leading to the unilateral proximal displacement one of the heels bulbs and the instability between the medial & lateral heel bulbs.

The Anatomical structures involved with sheared heels are;

  •  Frog Stay
  • Horny Frog
  • Co-lateral cartilage
  • Digital Cushion

Clinical Signs

Sheared Heel normal affects the medial heel bulb, the medial wall be straight with the lateral wall being feared.
The Primary Signs are ;

  •  Distortion of the hoof Capsule
  • Medial/Lateral imbalance
  • Lameness
  • Shunted Heel Bulb
  • Un even Coronary Band
  • Solar Bruising / Corns
  • Bar cracks
  • Pain on Manipulation
  • Independent movement of heel bulbs


  • The Causes of Sheared Heels are
  • Canker
  • Medial/Lateral Imbalance
  • Un level Foot Fall
  • Un even loading
  • Sprung Heels
  • Conformation
  • Poor Farrier
  • Studs & Calking


When dynamically assessing the horse at a walk, the heel of the effected side will normally contact the ground first, causing the proximal displacement. On manipulation of the heels it will be possible to move each heel bulb individually indication the mechanical breakdown of the frog stay (this manipulation can be pain full.) 
Conformation can be done by using a Palmar Digital nerve block as this will dramatically reduce lameness.


Treatment is aimed at re-establishing Medial/Lateral balance and lowering the proximally shunted coronary band. This is achieved by floating the affected heel allowing the proximally shunted heel to descend  back into alignment.

A shoe that offer good palmar heel support is necessary to support the heel region. Types of bar shoes used include

  • Egg Bars
  • Heart bar
  • ½ Heart Bars


The Prognosis for Sheared heels is good, as long as no permeant damage is sustained. In more severe cases the horse may need a support shoe for life.