Coffin Bone Angulation - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-18-2020, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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Coffin Bone Angulation

"No Hoof = No Horse."

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I have read various articles about coffin bone angulation; I have compiled that there are two main theories. Should the coffin bone be ground parallel (0 degrees) or have a positive angle (0< )? Why?

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Some sources:

Ground-Parallel:
https://hoofnaturopath.com/?p=197
https://www.forloveofthehorse.com/bl...ne-remodeling/
https://www.hosshoofho.com/understand-founder.html
http://www.barefoothorse.com/barefoot_HoofShape.html

Positive Angle:
https://barehoofcare.com/wp/wp-conte...Breakover1.pdf
https://blog.easycareinc.com/dont-be-negative/
https://innovativeequinepodiatry.blo...asurement.html
https://www.gravelproofhoof.org/low-plantar-angle/

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Glossary:

Coffin Bone: Distal Phalanx, "P3", Pedal Bone, Third Phalanx
Palmar: Front
Phalanx: Phalange
Plantar: Hind
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-19-2020, 05:04 AM
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I'm of the camp that says P3 should not be ground parallel, but it should be slightly 'positive' angle, around 3-5 degrees toe down.

Why? Because this is the angle of P3 when all phalangeal bones are in alignment, which is when joints & ligaments are in a 'neutral' position, not under stress. When bones are 'broken back' or 'broken forward' this tends to cause wear and calcification(osteo-arthritis) - and eventual lameness. Because when P3 is on a slightly positive angle, the collateral grooves will be pretty much ground parallel front to back, with relatively uniform sole thickness. Because a well developed caudal foot will have a positively angled P3. Because the healthiest, soundest footed horses examined, inlcuding arid zone feral horses have a positively angled P3. Because I've never met a fully sound horse who had ground parallel P3s
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-19-2020, 08:30 AM
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Should humans be pigeon toed or turned out? I believe some have conformation that is best left pigeon toed. Others not. To mess with either is a mistake.


I agree with loosie that the alignment of the phalanges bones resulting from the angle of P3 is paramount. But I'm not certain what angle with the ground results in this correct alignment. I suspect, and have read the same (somewhere?), that the best angle varies with the horse as does the angle of the human foot mentioned above.


I have become convinced that the live sole plane is the best guide for proper alignment of P3. If the hoof is trimmed so that the live sole is ground parallel, I believe the bony column will be correct, with any slight misalignment being just differences from horse to horse.


A note on checking the alignment of the bony column by x-ray. The horse must be standing square with the two fores and two hinds being at the same elevation.


Since the hoof is placed upon a raised platform for x-ray, the opposite foot needs to be on a similar platform. With some horses this can be difficult and time consuming with many vets not doing it. There are, however, special boots made for exactly this purpose that the better vets will have. And of course the elevation and placement of the x-ray machine is important.


If all this is not done correctly, the bony column may appear misaligned when it is not as the angles change continually during movement.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-19-2020, 11:42 AM
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I think as with most things there is a wide range of normal and each individual is unique. So for some what is out of range may be perfectly normal for others not so much. You go by the horse and what his feet tell you.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-19-2020, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Should humans be pigeon toed or turned out? I believe some have conformation that is best left pigeon toed. Others not. To mess with either is a mistake.
Is it?? One of my kids was really 'pigeon toed' in one foot when a toddler & the doc said that if it stayed that way, seeing a podiatrist & using a brace would be important. Thankfully it straightened itself out.

Quote:
I agree with loosie that the alignment of the phalanges bones resulting from the angle of P3 is paramount. But I'm not certain what angle with the ground results in this correct alignment.
According to... can't recall sources, no time to look up... actually don't recall if ELPO has facts & figures on this, but betting... most I've seen, seems to be general consensus that for bones to be in alignment, the distal surface angle is within the realm of 3-5 degrees - of course, as we're talking animals, there is no one hard & fast measurement - everyone is individual.


I suspect, and have read the same (somewhere?), that the best angle varies with the horse as does the angle of the human foot mentioned above.

Quote:
I have become convinced that the live sole plane is the best guide for proper alignment of P3. If the hoof is trimmed so that the live sole is ground parallel, I believe the bony column will be correct,
Yeah, that's what I meant - agree. Generally. as per above comment on individual diffs, it's not infallible, but a good general rule I reckon.
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-19-2020, 07:19 PM
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ELPO does mention that the bones should align. But ELPO is mostly about the live sole plane being very close to if not infallible.


Glad your youngen's leg straightened out. But I have to wonder what would have happened if a proactive doctor had began straightening it right away. Could have been worse off. Will never know.



But yeah, there are always those examples where intervention does need to take place. Ramey in one of his free articles or DVD's mentioned how one of his own feet was turned out more than the other. But he said he ran and got around just fine. Didn't bother him a bit.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-20-2020, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
I have become convinced that the live sole plane is the best guide for proper alignment of P3. If the hoof is trimmed so that the live sole is ground parallel, I believe the bony column will be correct, with any slight misalignment being just differences from horse to horse.
Just want to clarify since this term could be somewhat confusing "live sole ground parallel."
This does not mean "flat" because a healthy sole is somewhat concave. I could see someone thinking "ground parallel" might mean "flat."
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-20-2020, 09:55 AM
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Oooo....., I see how some could interpret that.


Correction: The live sole at the perimeter of the hoof capsule is the guiding light that ELPO refers to. And while the live sole can be difficult to learn to recognize, it is much more readily available than a veterinarian set up to accurately determine the bone alignment, at least in my area.


And they are not talking about the live sole being in contact with the ground but parallel to it with a little hoof wall extending beyond.



The general public is not the only area where things are misunderstood. I have had only one trimmer come out and he was recommended by "someone" online that was supposed to be good. Conducted classes etc.


This trimmer said he had drifted away from ELPO while mentioning that using the widest part of the hoof to determine the center of rotation was flawed if the horse had flares in that area.


Of course ELPO clearly advises to use the widest part of the sole as flares can throw the location off.


Widest part of the hoof is misleading to many, me included at one time. Should be called widest part of the sole.

Edit: The live sole need not be exfoliated all around the hoof capsule to determine how to trim. A small spot near the widest part of the hoof and at the seat of the corn is all that is needed. The rest can be left for added protection in dry hard circumstances for the barefoot horses.
Paid the trimmer a large chunk of money and that was, is, and will be the last I've seen of him.
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Last edited by Hondo; 01-20-2020 at 10:12 AM.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-20-2020, 10:23 AM
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This threw me a bit of a curve. The indication is that what we see on an x-ray of a positive P3 angle may actually be a zero angle.


Quote: What "GROUND-PARALLEL" means. The sharp, curved bottom edge of the coffin bone makes an arc (like a new moon). For correct alignment of the leg bones, this curved edge should sit nearly level on the ground. What you see on an x-ray is not the bottom edge (which is too thin to show up well) but a cross-section through the body of the bone, which is concave so that it slopes upward. It's very hard to see the bottom edge of the coffin bone on an x-ray, and therefore to know whether your horse's coffin bone is ground-parallel. Instead, we can determine ground-parallel by using the sole (which matches the bottom of the coffin bone) as a guide to trimming the hoof.

Quoted from https://www.barefoothorse.com/barefoot_HoofShape.html


I had not read and did not know that. Makes learning to identify the live sole even more important.Edit: Since I do use the live sole, this seems to put me in the ground parallel pew.
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-21-2020, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
ELPO does mention that the bones should align. But ELPO is mostly about the live sole plane being very close to if not infallible.
Yeah, I don't really see that as a 'but', as it has been found that 'following' the live sole plane is appropriate BECAUSE that is a good indication of bone alignment.

From your barefoothorse.com quote; What you see on an x-ray is not the bottom edge (which is too thin to show up well)

Yes, and I do think this confuses a lot of people. On many xrays I've seen, it doesn't show the extension of P3. It does show on most good rads though, albeit not as clear - because it's not as dense/thick - as the main body of P3. Yeah, when bones are in alignment, the 'plane' is very close to ground parallel, often difficult to tell just by eyeballing. You often actually have to measure it to see that it's a few degrees off horizontal.
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