Puncture Wounds in the Foot

Your horse’s feet are vulnerable to whatever may be on the ground, and a puncture wound can be deadly.

Your horse’s feet are vulnerable to whatever may be on the ground, and a puncture wound can be deadly.

Stab Wounds In The Foot

Puncture injuries in the hoof are a red alert. Deep wounds can result in sepsis and damage to the navicular or coffin bones or synovial structures (coffin joint, navicular bursa, digital sheath). With any puncture, contact your veterinarian immediately. If the nail or other object is still embedded, many vets prefer you leave it in place until they arrive as X-ray will provide precise information about the extent of the damage. If the piercing object is no longer there, it may be hard to diagnose a puncture wound; extreme pain is a symptom, but that can also be sign of an abscess. Deep punctures may require surgery to heal properly.

A protective boot—like Soft-Ride Boots—can help keep the puncture wound clean. Courtesy of Soft-Ride, Inc.

To Protect the Wound

Given prompt veterinary attention, punctures that don’t reach the synovial structures have a good chance of healing completely with no complications.

If the wound doesn’t require surgery, your vet will clean it thoroughly via lavage and may culture it to determine which antibiotics may be needed. A tetanus shot may also be given.

At that point, some sort of protection will be required to keep the wound clean. Options include:

  • Bandaging secured with duct tape.
  • A protective boot with bandage underneath.
  • A shoe with special pad or plate.

These Can Puncture


nails, screws | Nails, screws, splinters, and other construction detritus.

sharp stones | Jagged rocks and other sharp features of the landscape.

fence parts | Wire, snapped-off T posts, and other broken fence parts.

Related Articles
HR_24BON Grooming Feature_01
Groom to Win
Grooming Secrets to Show Like the Pros
HR_24BON_Conformation Clinic_Performance-Mares_01
Conformation Clinic: Performance Mares
HR_24BON_Crabbe Dont Call it Maintenance_crabbe_01
To Inject or Not to Inject
Don’t Call It Maintenance! 
Palomino horse with long blond mane
Mane-tain Those Locks
Maximum Mane Care Tips
Receive news and promotions for Horse & Rider and other Equine Network offers.

"*" indicates required fields


Additional Offers

Additional Offers
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.