How To Use the Patten Shoe

Stephen E. O'Grady, DVM

In the article entitled Distal Suspensory Ligament Desmitis (DSLD), Dr.Jan Young advocates the use of a "patten" shoe for treatment of this disease. The shoe raises the heels of the foot and prevents the heel from sinking into the ground. The shoe can also be used as a support shoe for other soft tissue injuries. It is easy to construct.

This shows a 14-year-old Arab gelding with moderate hind limb DSLD confirmed on ultrasound. To make the heel lift part of the shoe-trim the foot appropriately and then measure the distance across the hoof at the widest part of the foot. This measurement will form the width or ground surface of the heel lift.
Horses with DSLD will continually shift their weight while resting one hind limb.

Measure the distance from the ground to the heel of the foot that is in the resting position.
This measurement will be the vertical or upright branch of the heel lift.

A piece of 3/4x 5/16 inch steel is measured, marked and bent using a vice or a forge (Figure 3)

A shoe is fitted to the hind foot, the toe of the shoe is rolled, the heels of the shoe are turned out and the branches of the shoe extend to 1 inch beyond the heels of the foot. The vertical arms of the heel lift are bent inward and twisted slightly at the top to fit the contour at the heels of the shoe.
The heel lift is welded to the shoe.

The shoe is attached to the foot.

The heel lift can be gradually lowered at subsequent resets according to the comfort of the horse and follow-up ultrasound scans.

There is also an excellent article on making a patten shoe by Rob Sigafoos in the July/August 2000 American Farriers Journal.


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