send a quick enquiry:

    Thank you for your question! The Animal Therapeutics team will take a look and get back to you within 2 business days. If your question is urgent, please give us a call on 1800 496 990.

      Product enquiry:

      Product you are interested in

      Understanding Sesamoid Fractures & Injuries In Horses

      As horse owners, it is essential to understand the complexities of sesamoid bones and injuries in order to maintain our animals’ health and wellbeing. In this comprehensive guide, we explore these important elements: anatomy of the bone, causes and types of fractures related to sesamoids, diagnostic tests required when assessing such an injury, treatment methods for damaged or broken joints, and prevention techniques that should be taken into consideration when caring for horses with regards to any issues regarding their unique anatomical structure.

      Key Takeaways

      • Sesamoid bones located near the fetlock joint in horses are essential for anchoring, weight-bearing support, and injury prevention.
      • Various factors such as high speed running, conformation faults and inadequate shoeing can contribute to sesamoid fractures in horses. Diagnosis requires a combination of clinical signs and imaging techniques.
      • Treatment options range from rest/rehabilitation to surgery with preventive measures including appropriate training & exercise practices as well as proper shoeing techniques being key for successful recovery & long term management.

      Anatomy and Function of Sesamoid Bones in Horses






      The two proximal sesamoid bones are small, triangular structures found in each of a horse’s limbs near the fetlock joint. They act as pivotal points for the suspensory ligament and allow mobility between both foot and fetlock. These vital bone components play an important role in providing support to ensure that the suspensory apparatus functions correctly.

      As they have a delicate placement within their anatomy, injury can lead to major problems with regards to performance levels or general health if not addressed properly.

      Structure and Composition

      The sesamoid bones in horses are held together by the suspensory ligament at the top and multiple small, yet vital, sesamoidean ligaments near the bottom. These particular bones play an essential role in supporting high-impact movements while providing shock absorption as well. Because of this, it is necessary to have a good understanding of their structure and composition for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment with any possible injuries regarding these specific parts of anatomy.

      Role in Supporting Fetlock Joint


      An illustration of a horse's fetlock joint with emphasis on the sesamoid bone, which is prone to fracture and requires proper support for healing after a sesamoid fracture horse injury.

      Image source:


      The sesamoid bones of horses have a key role to play in the limb’s biomechanics and support for their fetlock joint. By connecting the suspensory ligaments, they help spread forces associated with high-speed movement, as well as cushioning when hooves hit ground. Damage to these bones or related structures could cause lameness and decreased performance capabilities. Thus it is imperative that individuals are familiar with how such injuries can be prevented through this small yet important bone structure.

      Causes and Types of Sesamoid Fractures



      Two proximal sesamoid bones with basilar and apical fractures

      Image source:



      In horses, sesamoid fractures can be caused by strenuous activity at a fast speed or due to an unfavorable conformation and inadequate shoeing. Apical, basilar, mid-body axial and biaxial fractures are the most common type of sesamoid injuries seen in horses. Horses used for sport such as jumping and dressage often experience these types of injuries as their intense movement combined with fatigue puts immense pressure on those small yet critical bones.

      Factors Contributing to Sesamoid Fractures

      The bones in the sesamoid region of horses are vulnerable to fracturing due to a combination of factors including conformation faults, inadequate shoeing and chronic inflammation. Running at high speeds or rigorous training can place additional stress on these particular bones, making them susceptible to fractures as well. Conformation flaws or inappropriate fitting shoes may cause more pressure against the sesamoid thus upping its fragility. While prolonged irritation (samoditis) will weaken it thereby amplifying susceptibility to fracture. As such, strenuous exercise like racing often heightens the tension placed upon these bony structures, which if unchecked could easily result in breaks occurring within them.

      Types of Sesamoid Fractures

      It is imperative for those involved with horses to know the different types of sesamoid fractures that can happen in horses, as each variety presents unique challenges when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. These include apical, mid-body, basal and abaxial breaks. Early recognition together with proper care may considerably improve a horse’s chance at regaining full capacity following an incident involving these fractures.

      Sesamoids are delicate bones located on either side of the fetlock joint which can be prone to damage during strenuous activities such as racing or jumping. Understanding how best to diagnose and treat them if they should occur is critical for ensuring optimal recovery in your four legged friend!

      Identifying Sesamoid Injuries: Signs and Diagnosis

      Signs of sesamoid injuries in horses often include lameness, warmth, swelling and pain. Diagnosis for such injury can be determined by nerve blocks, X-rays, ultrasounds or even through the help of MRI scans and thermal imaging technology. It is. It is vital that horse owners as well as professionals are familiar with not only the symptoms but also know how to diagnose this kind of condition accurately and quickly so proper treatment may commence without any complications. Delays resulting in a successful recovery for any horses inflicted with sesamoid injures.

      Clinical Signs of Sesamoid Injuries

      The clinical indications of sesamoid injuries in horses consist of acute lameness affecting the forelimb, pain and swelling which is typically accompanied with heat. Such symptoms can alert owners to a possible issue concerning sesamoid injuries and then seek timely medical care.

      Early recognition of such instances is essential for ensuring that the horse receives necessary treatment swiftly as well as looking after its long-term health optimally and sustaining performance levels if needed.

      Challenges in Diagnosing Sesamoid Injuries

      Diagnosing sesamoid injuries in horses is difficult due to the fact that fractures may not be obvious on radiographs right away, and because lameness, pain during manipulation and synovial effusion with proximal sesamoid fractures can differ among cases. It is suggested that a 10-14 day rest period of the horse take place before attempting another round of x-rays if no signs are detected after diagnostic anesthesia has pointed towards the fetlock area for any potential injury connected to the sesamoids.

      Early detection combined with an exact diagnosis plays a critical role in determining which course of treatment will bring about full recovery from all kinds of injuries related to sesamoids in horses.

      Treatment Options for Sesamoid Fractures


      A horse with a sesamoid fracture being treated with conservative methods


      When it comes to treating sesamoid fractures, factors such as the type of fracture and its severity must be taken into account. The health status of a horse is also important in determining which treatment option would work best for them. These could include rest and rehabilitation, magnet therapy or cold treatments paired with anti-inflammatory medications, an intra-articular approach or surgery. It’s vital that those responsible for caring for horses have full knowledge on all available options so they can make informed decisions regarding their care.

      Various methods exist when dealing with such fractures, from complete rest up to surgical repair. Being aware of what’s possible helps guarantee the overall well-being of your beloved four legged friend.

      Conservative Treatment Methods

      The treatment of sesamoid fractures in horses can vary depending on the fracture type and how their body is responding to it. Rest, immobilization along with supportive care are all necessary components for healing from such injuries. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used around the fetlock area to reduce inflammation as well as provide pain relief which accelerates recovery time significantly.

      Sesamoid damage needs particular attention given that this structure helps support an essential joint movement required by any horse’s activity level. Thus rest and rehabilitation serve a vital role when treating these kinds of problems within a horse’s feet or legs.

      Surgical Interventions

      For serious damages, surgical methods may be necessary for treatment. The options include removing or fixing the sesamoid bone and reconstructing ligaments, treatments range from minimal to complex procedures depending on the type of fracture sustained. To give extra support to the joint as well as its connective joint tissues while healing takes place, bars can be attached to a horse’s shoes. Intra-articular injections such as hyaluronic acid are employed to reduce inflammation around that area with fractures occurring primarily at/involving certain bones like sesamoids affecting horses significantly during injury cases.

      Post-Treatment Care and Rehabilitation

      Care for sesamoid fractures in horses post-treatment typically includes rest and restricted turnout, as well as gradual rehabilitation. One way to reduce inflammation around the fetlock area is by using hot/cold therapy or pills. As healing progresses, reintroducing exercise slowly beginning with hand walking may be allowed over a period of four months before resuming regular training but at lower intensity than previously experienced. It’s important also to look out for possible complications during recovery that might indicate reinjury and require immediate attention.



      a horse being treated for a sesamoid injury with aqua therapy on a treadmill





      Preventing Sesamoid Injuries in Equines

      To minimize the danger of sesamoid damage in horses, it is advised to carry out suitable training and exercise techniques, proper shoeing, as well as early detection and surveillance. All these protective steps will guarantee our equine companions are kept safe from painful sesamoid injuries so that they can perform their best without any obstacles.

      Training and Exercise Practices

      In order to reduce the risk of sesamoid injuries in horses, it is recommended that exercises be limited on hard surfaces and weight managed appropriately. Taking into account individual needs and abilities when creating an exercise program for horses can help promote their overall health while also helping reduce potential for suffering from sesamoid injuries.

      Proper Shoeing Techniques

      Shoeing the horse correctly can aid in avoiding sesamoid issues by providing adequate cushion and support for those bones. Utilizing shoes with a broad webbing, roomy toe box, and deep heel offers secure stability while protecting the joints from damage, thus minimizing any risk of harm to these sensitive areas.

      Not only does it help protect against injury, but proper hoof care is essential for maintaining overall equine health too!

      Early Detection and Monitoring

      Regular check-ups for sesamoid injuries are essential to maintain the health of horses and their ability to perform. Many imaging modalities such as radiography, ultrasound scans, nuclear scintigraphy, MRI or CT can be employed for timely detection and follow up of these types of injuries in horses.

      Early diagnosis is key when it comes to protecting our beloved four-legged friends from being attacked. Harm that could otherwise lead to long term damage if not monitored effectively.


      In the interest of protecting our equine friends, it is important to be well-versed in sesamoid injuries and fractures: their anatomy, causes, various types (including diagnostic challenges), as well as treatment options. Prevention measures should always be implemented along with early detection and monitoring for proper treatment plans that will help ensure successful recovery from these troublesome ailments. Thus we can keep the horses safe from lasting damage or disability caused by such issues related to sesamoid bones so they may continue happily while performing optimally.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Can a horse recover from a sesamoid fracture?

      A sesamoid fracture can be managed with the correct care, rest and rehabilitation. The extent of which will depend on how bad the break was. In some cases, things can happen. A horse may never achieve their former performance level after this type of injury to its sesamoids.

      How do you treat a sesamoid injury in a horse?

      When it comes to treating a sesamoid injury in horses, the best course of action should be discussed with an experienced vet. Usually this will include intra-articular treatments and possibly surgery for recovery purposes.

      It is important that one follows their veterinarian’s advice if they want to see positive results from the treatment process involving such injuries on these animals’ sesamoids.

      What is the best treatment for a sesamoid fracture?

      To treat a sesamoid fracture, it is recommended that the person be in relative rest and abstain from activities with high impact. Icing their toe area while taking anti-inflammatory medicines alongside wearing shoes with stiff soles or clogs should provide relief to the joint stress caused by this bone’s fracture giving time for healing of these bones. All measures together help address problems related to a fractured sesamoid injury effectively ensuring optimal care for such an affliction.

      What are the different types of sesamoid fractures in horses?

      In horses, sesamoid fractures can take on many different forms like apical, midbody, basilar, abaxial and sagittal ones as well as comminuted. The treatment approach for each of these fracture types differs due to their unique nature.

        Your Cart
        Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop