Navicular ‘changes’, as seen on radiographs, are nearly meaningless in diagnosing ‘caudal heel pain syndrome’; in fact I wonder why they bother taking them. If the horse is lame you don’t need an xray to tell you so, nor do any of the treatments address the lesions or cysts that are considered to be the cause of the problem.

Orthopedic or corrective shoeing works in the short term by restricting the blood supply to the navicular bone by increasing the angle of the hoof/pastern axis, which compresses the artery that enters the foot in that region.  It is counterproductive to prescribe shoeing that continues the conditions that caused the problem to begin with.  In particular doing so on a young horse will predispose it to this condition for the rest of its life and will shorten its productive lifespan.

Shoes on a horse who has not fully developed his skeleton can be very detrimental in that they restrict the coffin bone from reaching its full developmental characteristics. It restricts the amount of space available for the structures located in the flexible rear part of the hoof and prevents proper development of the palmar processes which by means of the lateral cartilages attach the coffin bone to the short pastern bone.  

A more productive course of action would be to address the problem by means of a physiologically correct trim, removing excess, hard horn that is causing pain and inflammation and leading to ‘caudal heel syndrome’. 

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