What Are the Symptoms of a Equine Sprained Ankle?

Written by jen davis
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What Are the Symptoms of a Equine Sprained Ankle?
Symptoms of a leg injury include swelling, heat and general unsoundness. (sabot image by Vely from Fotolia.com)

A horse that appears to have a "sprained ankle" typically has suffered some type of tendon or ligament injury on the lower part of the leg. These injuries can range from mild to severe. A horse that has been hurt may exhibit a variety of symptoms.


If your horse has suffered a sprained ankle, it will appear to be lame or unsound. Lame horses favour one leg and may walk with a slight to pronounced limp. A horse's head will often bob up and down if it is favouring one leg.

Favouring One Leg

A horse that has injured one of its legs will be unlikely to put its full weight on the injured limb. You will notice the horse resting its injured leg by cocking it up slightly while standing to take the weight off.

Sensitivity to Touch

Much like a person with a sprain or injury, the area that the horse has injured will be sensitive to touch. The horse will pull away from attempts to handle the injured leg and may react aggressively to pressure placed on the injured limb.

Swelling in the Leg

If a horse has injured the tendons or ligaments in its leg, it may swell noticeably. A large puffy area on a limb that the horse is already favouring is a clear sign of injury.

Heat in the Leg/ Increased or Pounding Pulse

The horse's leg may be hot to the touch. There may be an increased or pounding pulse in the injured leg. Both are symptoms that indicate that an injury has occurred.

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