Navicular bone fracture and severe deep digital flexor tendinopathy after palmar digital neurectomy in two horses

Elizabeth A. Larsen, Megan R. Williams, Mike J. Schoonover, Kelsey A. Jurek, Jenna M. Young, Hugh R. Duddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Navicular syndrome is a common cause of forelimb lameness in horses. Beyond changes to the navicular bone itself, horses with a clinical diagnosis of navicular syndrome often have pathology associated with other components of the navicular apparatus, including the navicular bursa, deep digital flexor (DDF) tendon, collateral sesamoidean ligaments, and impar ligament. Palmar digital neurectomy (PDN) is often used as a salvage procedure for horses diagnosed with navicular syndrome that become unresponsive to medical management. There are many potential complications associated with PDN, some of which are debilitating. Case Description: This report describes two cases of navicular bone fracture with severe DDF tendinopathy and distal interphalangeal joint subluxation/hyperextension that occurred 12 and 19 weeks after bilateral forelimb PDN. Conclusion: These two cases highlight the importance of proper patient selection before PDN due to the high incidence of undiagnosed soft tissue pathology in conjunction with radiographic evidence of navicular syndrome. Advanced imaging of the digit is recommended to identify and characterize any soft tissue pathology associated with the navicular apparatus before pursuing PDN to avoid disease progression and catastrophic injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1752-1759
Number of pages8
JournalOpen Veterinary Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tripoli. All rights reserved.


  • Deep digital flexor tendon
  • Horse
  • Navicular bone fracture
  • Navicular syndrome
  • Palmar digital neurectomy

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Case Reports


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