Collateral Grooves and Bars

Below is an Xray of a Right Front hoof.  The right side is the medial side, the left is the lateral one. (The view is from the front).


The two views are the same, one shown un-marked up for clarity.


 The tops of the collateral grooves are indicated with red marks.  The depth of the collateral groove is determined by the height (or length) of the bar, which is not visible on xray. The collateral groove on the medial side is very deep, much more so than the lateral side. It appears to be projecting up into the bottom of the coffin bone which is probably very painful, since this area is full of sensitive tissue.  The bar and collateral groove has pushed up the inside side of the foot, displacing the balance of the foot.   The inside wall is much higher and longer than the outside. The hairline and top of the wall/coronary band are indicated with the red arrows. The two points should be straight across, parallel with the ground. Another detrimental effect of this deep collateral groove is the displacement of the P3/P2 joint. The joint space is narrower on the outside, wider on the inside.  This can lead to ossifications and arthritic problems such as sidebone and ringbone.

Lowering the bar on the inside to the same length as the outside will correct these balance problems.

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  1. I’d say that it is not enough to lower the inside bar. You would also have to direct attention to the outside bar- both collateral grooves are too deep even if the inside is more so. You should expect inflamation in the living tissue above both bars that will cause excess horngrowth for some time and need to be trimmed often. Trimming often- twice a week- in the beginning until the inflammation is gone is vital to correct the imbalance, or there will be a vicious circle of excess growth of barhorn, causing inflammation and so on.

  2. Thank you for your comment Ann. I agree with you, you are absolutely correct that this would be the trimming protocol required to see improvement. The main emphasis of this post was to show, very clearly thanks to this xray, how damaging long bars and thus deep collateral grooves can be.

  3. your nuts. A horse with a coronary band as uneven as that has alot more than a long bar issue,

    • Dear David,
      First, you are rude and you have bad grammar.
      Second, I would like to draw your (sp.) attention to a few things: this post is not intended to illustrate and discuss all of this particular horse’s problems (as you can see it has multiple tags including clubfoot, conditions and treatment, etc.). It was posted to illustrate the relationship of long bars to long collateral grooves and how these are actually visible on xrays, because people don’t believe or don’t know what is under the surface when looking at the bottom of a foot.
      This is not to say the horse doesn’t have other problems. What do you think are his other issues brought on or manifested by the uneven coronary band?

  4. This is an awesome example of how not trimming the bars [as a continuation of the hoof wall] will and does causes traumatic problems with a network of ills that are later ‘treated’ separately rather than correcting/removing root causes. It’s 2012 now and found this post from a new yahoo group called ‘thehappyhoof’.

    I have a horse 21 years old who came to me as a 3 year old with this club foot. I am just now finding the root and causes of his (now) unsound condition. Trimming the bars to below sole level immediately HELPED him and I am now seeing migration of that crammed, jammed hoof wall that has been pushed up into his pastern ares (causing the sort of lump) proximal to the coronary band, in that is is now relieving him and the heel is actually growing down now. Over a period of time this ‘lump’ AND the coronary band are “relaxing” more and more! And the result is that he is becoming sound and is more comfortable every day!

    I find that I also have to put a good bevel (at least the width of a pencil) on the rear quarters AND the Heel all the way to the bars (which are monitored and kept lower than or at sole level) This is working-totally and his hoof tubeuals have also become correct over a period of time when they used to be more horizontal from mid hoof forward-actually growing at 2 different angles because of such imbalance over years of time (when he was in shoes). Thank you for this post and for leaving it up! melissa 🙂

    • Hi Melissa, glad to hear your horse is doing so much better. Often by the time they are 21yo and have had the conditions you describe for so many years the foot and leg sructures are adapted to the point where there is no ‘going back’. So it’s great to hear you’re seeing changes. Of course, if hoof material is jammed up into the hoof capsule, it can be visible on the foot as you describe, and the horse is reluctant to or simply can’t, weight his heel, resulting in a so-called ‘club foot’.

      It would be really great to see pictures of your horse’s progress.

      • Thank you for the encouragement! everyday that he walks more and more around the little pasture on his own and looks so much more ‘equal’ on all his legs I am SURE that he will get better than he has probabaly ever been! Even the simple action of stamping a foot to shake off flies is like a miracle! For years he could not even do that!! He just stood there, eyes glazed over with a hollow, empty stare, flies literally covering his legs, ankles and pasterns as well as his face and he would not (could not) even swish his tail to get relief!

        I have to confirm what you said about the other structures so changed. I KNOW from his experience that not only leg changes but throughout his whole body has been so ‘out of alignment’ so he oculd not do tail swishing or leg movements that are normal for horses. I am seeing him stretch his whole self in many ways. One way is by lowering his head while standing, or after taking careful steps and putting more weight on different feet, INTENTIONALLY, to feel the corrections! He will bob his head and sort of move it in different ways and it looks like he is stretching his spine as well as bobbing weight onto his feet more! amazes me!! also, he actually ROLLS when he lays down and before he gets up! he has not been able to roll for at least 4 years and I suspect it was because he hurt too bad.

        I do have pictures and I will try and post them someplace so you can see them. i can also email them if you like. for now, i’m not on the computer everyday but i look here first thing when i get on! today i refreshed the bevel on his ‘club foot’ heels, especially the inside one which is straight down and seems to be the one that is jammed the most. I bevel to the water line and also around the tip of that heel on into the bar…bevel that bar as well. THIS, alone is where I see helps him the most and also i drew a line with magicmarker at the top of what i felt to be the edge of the wall and it has dropped about 3/8″ in a week! He feels so good! stamping at flies (i did use spray when he would not stamp)and swishing his tail heartly! even kicked at his companion at feed time for being pushy! pictures soon!

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