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The effect of flat horseshoes, raised heels and lowered heels on the biomechanics of the equine hoof assessed by finite element analysis (FEA).

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  • 1Clinic of Orthopaedics in Ungulates, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria. Christine.Hinterhofer@vu-wien.ac.at

Abstract

The biomechanical effects of lowering and raising the heels were studied using a finite element (FE) computer model of the equine hoof capsule consisting of 18,635 finite elements. A static load of 3000 N was distributed to nodes of the inner hoof wall (80%) according to the suspension of the coffin bone, 20% loaded sole and frog. When loaded the FE hoof capsules showed the following deformations: the proximal dorsal wall moves back, the quarters flare to the side and sole and frog perform a downward movement. Stresses are high in the material surrounding the quarter nails, in the heels and in the proximal dorsal wall. Three types of horseshoes were simulated, a regular shoe with flat branches, a shoe with 5 degrees raised heels and a shoe with 5 degrees lowered heels. Raising the heels resulted in significantly (P < 0.05) low stress and displacement values. The lowered heels model calculated highest stress and displacement values and the results of the FE model with the regular horseshoe were found in between.

PMID:
10803106
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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