Limb deformities are broken down into the two categories "flexural" and "angular." When you look at the horse from the side, flexural limb deformities such as a club foot or tendon laxity are apparent whereas angular limb deformities (such as pigeon-toed conformation) are visible from the front.
Limb deformities can be congenital or acquired. With congenital deformities it is important to intervene early before the growth plates close, as this is an optimum time to manipulate the limb. Once a horse has matured these deformities must be managed, but overcorrection can be to the detriment of the horse.
Acquired deformities are often secondary to an injury or disease process. Degenerative suspensory disease or tendon contracture secondary to injury are conditions that may require special support to ensure that your horse is as comfortable as possible.
It's important to tailor your approach to meet the unique needs of the animal.
A club foot is the result of a discrepancy between the functional length of the limb and the deep digital flexor tendon. This results in an upright hoof appearance and fixed flexion of the coffin joint. These can be congenital or acquired and can range in the degree of severity.
If addressed at a young age, congenital club feet can often be managed conservatively with trimming and shoeing. More severe cases may require surgery. The window for intervention is best before the horse is a yearling as the effectiveness of procedures declines with age.