Hey Mark I'm back.
I realize your concern of pull on the DDFT, but you also need to keep slight tension on the DDFT in my opinion.
what I see happening if you don't keep tension the DDFT contracts more and more and so do the heels.
No disrespect but it's not a matter of opinion. It's a matter of anatomical science.
Unlike the muscle tissue they are attached to, tendons don't "contract". The expression "contracted tendon" is a misnomer. In a congenital case of club foot, the musculature/tendon flexor apparatus is functionally shortened, hence the tension imbalance. Tendons have a "rest" state and a "working" state, not a "contracted" state.
The difference is a matter of parallel collagen fibers that, as compared to muscle tissue, react slowly to electric impulses and are already in a coiled state. At best, there is the slightest amount of stretch to tendon tissue but, no contraction.
Also if you don't trim to make the knees even heights you will have problems there and shoulder issues.
The club footed side is always higher in the knee than the other side.
No sir; a horse presenting a unilateral club foot condition will present a leg length disparity that is "functionally" shorter on the club side; hence the physiologic reserve response that results in the accelerated heel growth .
Trimming the club footed heel down further will increase stress on the DDFT and subsequent pull on the distal phalanx. That pull on the coffin bone increases strain on the interdigital laminae and pressure on the solar corium, compromising the vascular bed in the anterior of the foot, resulting in the thin soles so common in a club foot.
Don't misunderstand. I'm not suggesting that a farrier leave excess heel on the club foot. Excess heel length is causal in contracted heel distortion, to frog tissue atrophy and increased risk of fungal/bacterial intrusion of those then compromised tissues. Trim the heels to healthy, strong horn with an eye towards passive frog engagement, but then follow up by restoring elevation via orthotics to assure correct mechanical function.
On the surface it appears contradictory. We trim the heels down/back, only to raise them back up again via wedging, but by doing so, we increase the base of support, reduce DDFT pull and passively engage the frog.
It has been observed that managing a clubbed foot shares some protocol aspects common to treating a laminitic. There is considerable truth in that observation.
I do agree beveling the shoe at the toe relieves more pressure on the DDFT, also a properly fitted straight bar shoe helps heel support.
You must have misunderstood me. I said that rolling the toe will ease breakover; not that beveling the shoe will reduce pressure on the DDFT. One has nothing to do with the other.
Elevation (+/-) effects DDFT/SDFT/Interosseus tension. Easing breakover reduces ground reaction force at the distal margin of the wall/toe structures.
What is more uncomfortable for a horse some pull on the DDFT or uneven knees which also has to push up on the shoulder ?
There is no reason for the horse to suffer discomfort for either condition. Trim the feet to capsule conformation and apply orthotic wedges as appropriate to compensate for increased DDFT pull and limb length disparity. In this case, you can have your cake and eat it too.
I can't see how you can be even close with having the knees level and the same heights with 1 degree higher wedge pad on the club foot versus the foot on the other side, but if that works for you, I'm hats off to you, because every farrier has their own opinion and ways of doing stuff, they all have a right to do so as far as I'm aware of.
I make considerable effort to avoid personal opinion and focus more on anatomical mechanics to address the needs of the horse. In some cases (mild club), evenly applied wedging works fine. In more severe cases it may be necessary to adjust/vary caudal elevation to assure bilateral balance.
By the way, I didn't say a 1 degree higher wedge pad. Wedge pads are typically offered as a #1, #2 or #3 product. The nomenclature is typically not a measure of angle.
Not wanting to start a debate.
I was just stating what works for me.
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Debate can be educational. What "works" should always be viewed with a critical eye, particularly given that some horses appear to get along alright in spite of our efforts, not because of them.