There are a number of factors that can contribute to the degeneration, however, there is no known cause.
- Repeated compression can wear down the navicular bone and surrounding cartilage
- Excessive tension placed on tendons supporting the navicular bone
- Toe landing first may contribute to navicular problems due to the increased strain on the deep digital flexor tendon
- Conformation may have an impact (genetic predisposition) – specifically conformation flaws that promote concussion
- Upright pasterns, too straight shoulders, small feet, significant downhill build, long toes with low heels
- Poor shoeing/trimming can have a negative impact
- Any work that places additional stress on the deep digital flexor tendon – including steep hills, galloping and jumping
Symptoms can include
- Heel pain (causing the horse to walk on their toes)
- Mild/intermittent lameness
- Corrective trimming/shoeing (with the purpose of shortening the toe and elevating the heel)
- Continue exercise to promote blood flow/circulation but should be low impact – swimming may help.