Authors of section


Alan Ruggles, Jeffrey Watkins

Executive Editor

Jörg Auer

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Diaphyseal fractures: Incomplete

Fracture characteristics

Incomplete fractures of the radius usually occur in adult horses after being kicked by another horse
The fracture is incomplete and non-displaced.

Radial fractures introduction

Clinical signs

The horse usually presents with a small wound on the medial aspect of the radius resulting from a kick.
The degree of lameness can vary from minimal to severe. Lameness usually decreases relatively quickly after the injury with some patients showing no evidence of lameness a within a few days.

Radial fractures introduction


Whenever a horse is presented that has been kicked on the medial aspect of the distal radius, it is important to perform a radiographic examination. A minimum of 4 views should be obtained, and additional views may be needed to completely ascertain the extent of the injury.
In some instances a fracture may not be evident on baseline radiographs. In these cases, it is advisable to take precautions including stall confinement of the patient. If substantial lameness is evident, it is advisable to take measures to prevent the horse from laying down.
Follow up radiographs taken 10-14 days after the initial injury should identify a fracture if present.

Radial fractures introduction

If the fracture is overlooked and the horse is allowed unrestricted activity, there is an increased high risk of the fracture becoming complete and axially unstable.
Therefore, if a fracture is suspected, a complete set of radiographs should be taken.
Left: A CC radiographic view of the distal radius of a horse that was kicked and acquired an incomplete fracture of the distal radius. No precautionary measures were taken and the horse was placed on a pasture.

Radial fractures introduction

Left: The following day the horse was found on the pasture non-weight-bearing on the the kicked limb. The incomplete fracture that was initially not seen developed into a complete distal radius fracture.

Radial fractures introduction