What are crushed or under-run heels?
Crushed or under-run heels are overgrown heels that have become crushed
under the weight load on the foot. Some breeds tend to be more apt to suffer from crushed heels. However, many crushed heels
develop as secondary pathology, rather than primary. For example, a horse that suffers a major injury to one front foot will
often over-load the other front foot and crush the heels down on the "healthy" foot over time. However, poor trimming and
shoeing can cause or perpetuate the process. Under-run heels are a real pathology, however they occur,
and are one of the most difficult to fix.
heels are most often noticed in a horse that has hooves prone to flaring, but upright hooves can also be under-run. In
a flared foot, the heels are visibly crushed and the quarters flaring out dramatically. This is often seen on horses with
thiner hoof walls and soles due to genetics. Your farrier or vet may tell you this type of horse "can't grow heels",
but the truth is, it's overgrown heels,not lack of! This foot will look very "splat" to a casual observer.
Many upright under-run heeled horses seem to be on a long stilt and appear
to have plenty of heel.When viewed from the side at ground level, this type of hoof will have a weight-bearing heel starts
at the middle of the hoof/leg axis. The toe appears very long and many farriers attempt to keep dubbing the toe back, when
in fact, the heels need to be trimmed back.