Windgalls in Horses

Posted on September 24, 2021 by Categories: Cryochaps

Windgalls in horses are common and usually mild. They are found at the back of the fetlock and are usually a sign of a wear and tear issue. This blog article gives a brief introduction to windgalls in horses and outlines how ice wraps may help.

What are Windgalls in Horses?

Windgalls are soft or hard swellings found at the back of the fetlock. They can be large or small. Windgalls are a build up of fluid in the digital flexor tendon sheath (DFTS). They are usually found on the hind legs, but can occur on the forelegs, too. 

You can usually see and feel windgalls, and it’s important to check and feel your horse’s legs regularly. This allows you to learn what’s normal for your horse, as well as when something changes or isn’t quite right. 

Windgalls do not normally feel hot and do not normally cause lameness. Windgalls are often benign and do not cause the horse any pain. However, you should seek the advice of your vet if you are unsure, if you notice any heat or changes in your horse’s legs or if the horse is lame. 

What Causes Windgalls in Horses?

Horses that are in hard work are more likely to develop windgalls. Furthermore, working on the same type of surface or doing the same kind of work all the time can cause and aggravate windgalls.

Do you notice that your horses’ windgalls on their hind legs increase in size after jumping? An excessive amount of strain goes through the hind legs as the horse takes off, stretching tendons and ligaments in the lower leg to the max. High impact work such as jumping can aggravate windgalls, which is why it is important to carefully manage your horse’s warm-up, cool-down and workload. 

Managing Windgalls

Horses’ legs are not designed to carry their weight (plus that of the rider and tack!) at high speeds, over jumps and through tight twists and turns. All of this puts strain on the horse’s legs, and windgalls are a symptom of this wear and tear. Whilst windgalls are common and usually not a big cause for concern, horse owners should aim to manage the stress put on the horse’s lower leg structures. 

Allowing your horse to warm up and cool down effectively is vital. Using our ice wraps after exercise is one way of enhancing your horse’s cool down routine. Ensuring your horse has enough rest and a varied exercise regime can also help with the prevention and management of windgalls. Working your horse on different surfaces and avoiding doing too much of the same exercise is also important.   

Purchase Cryochaps Ice Wraps for Horses

Using our ice wraps for horses may help you to manage your horse’s windgalls. The Cryochaps K2F ice wrap is designed to cover all the major structures in the horse’s lower leg and deliver ice and compression after exercise, including jumping sessions and competitions. Cryochaps ice wraps use the power of ice and compression to target those puffy windgalls. See if using Cryochaps after jumping make a difference to your horse’s legs.