The affections of the biomechanical system are one of the first and most significant causes of lameness in sport horses (Seeherman 1992b). 60% of the dysfunctions are situated in the anterior leg, 95% of which are under the carpus , and which influence the osteo-articular structures (Stashak, 1987; Trotter, 1996).
The os navicular problem for example is responsible for 35% of chronical lameness in the front leg (Colles, 1983: Turner, 1990), and creates a lot of others problems in the mechanism/system at work.
In 2004 we made a scientific work about: The influence of an osteopathic manipulation of the os carpal accessorium (os pisiforme) bone (A) related to the mobility of the distal phalanx (B), using a force plate as measurement tool.
With this work we proved out the functional importance of the os carpal accessorium bone in relation to the mobility of the distal phalanx, in order to obtain a better distribution of the vertical forces in the hoof.
In literature the importance of equilibrium in the distal phalanx (HOOF BALANCE) is accepted, but no documentation on the interrelation between the os carpal accessorium bone and the distal phalanx can be found.
In practice, orthopaedic shoeing is used to improve equilibrium in the hoof, usually without reference to the structures above.
Can you imagine what the forces are in a horse foot, if a horse is landing after jumping fences from 1.50 – 1.60 m. with a bad hoof balance (fig.1), if you know that a horse is carrying 65% of his weight in his front legs.
We observed a lot of horses with this problem, and this author can say by now that the relation os carpal accessorium bone and the rest of the body is quite relevant.
What this author want to demonstrate is, that a simple dysfunction of the os carpal accessorium bone can cause a change in how that dimension works, and that a repeating structural dysfunction of the os carpal accessories bone is showing us often visceral problems (liver, stomach).
So, if we find a structural dysfunction the first question we have to ask ourselves is why does the system functions this way? Is it due to the systems’ environment, border or stimulus from the environment. What are the agents, interactions, how strong are the interactions and what is the state of the interactions.
For example is the problem due to
- a structural problem, for example a hyperflexion or a hyperextension of the carpus
- an adaptive behaviour to find a new balance, with structural origin
- a compensation due to a visceral or physiological problem
- a shoeing or trimming problem
- a teeth problem (TMG)
- a rider or training problem
- a surface problem
The main goal as an Evolutionary Equine Osteopath is to look what the chronology of the problem is, and how we can try to help the horse to solve it, or why doesn’t his own health-maintenance functions properly?
As a human and equine osteopath I’m convinced, that if we focus on HEALTH = NO PATTERN, we can maintain the system, and focus on structure and function as one, to create harmony in the whole system, at all levels.
Whatever the horse body tells us about structural dysfunctions, the following systems are checked in chronological order, to try and understand why the horse HEALTH-MAINTENANCE is not functioning properly.