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AskHQ: Corns

Q: What are corns?

A: The ‘seat of corn’ is the area of sole between the bar and the heel wall, and a bruise in this area is called a corn.

Corns are a big problem in shod horses with collapsed heels. When the wall folds under at the heel and the bars become bent, pressure is put onto the seat of the corn and when a shoe is placed on top of this bruising develops. This is made far worse if the horse is shod short or left for a prolonged period between shoeings (so that the ends of the shoe are no longer supported by the wall and press directly onto this area).

Corns are very painful and cause lameness, as the horse will take a shorter stride to avoid putting pressure onto his heel. Sometimes infection will gain entry here, and further compromise the tissue, creating increased pain. For corns to settle, pressure must be removed from the seat of the corn. This can be a challenge in horses, as they spend most of their day on their feet. The first step in management is for the farrier to trim back the folded wall and bar at the heels. A bar shoe, a boot with a pad or Equicast is then applied at this point, and it is vital that no pressure is put onto the area, to allow it to heal.