Management of Traumatic Injuries to the Hoof Capsule

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Management of Traumatic Injuries to the Hoof Capsule Written and presented November 2005 by R.F. (Ric) Redden, DVM

Foal Injuries One of the most common injures to the foot may occur hours to days from birth. Mares occasionally step on their foal's foot while it is recumbent, often causing serious damage to the hoof capsule, soft-tissue and digit. Traumatic wall injuries demand immediate attention and thorough first-aid care.


Exam and Debride Many times the wall will be separated from the underlying laminae and sole corium. It is very important to determine the extent of damage and note if any of the germinal centers have been disrupted. The coronary papillae are of great concern, as they are responsible for tubular horn growth.


A frequently asked question is, "Should the wall be sutured back on in places where it has been pulled away?" This question has two answers. When the papillae remain inserted in the coronary groove, it is best to leave the wall. The exception is when the traumatized laminae become septic. If the papillae have been displaced from the coronary groove, it is best to remove the corresponding section of wall. Attempting to suture the wall back in place disfigures the papillae, which results in disfigured horn growth, delayed healing and the creation of a bacterial reservoir beneath the detached wall.