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Clarify: Why do we wrap both legs?

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  • Clarify: Why do we wrap both legs?

    I've always been curious as to why, when wrapping legs, the wraps must be even and both legs must be wrapped even if only one leg requires it.

    I understand that this is true, but I don't understand why it's necessary; ie: what the mechanism is behind the need to make them even and to wrap both legs. Like, does wrapping only one front leg cause undue stress on the opposite leg? If so, how?

    Might seem obvious to some, but I've never heard a real reason!


  • #2
    I've always worked on the principle that if I'm wrapping Leg A, with an injury to it that requires support, then Leg B, the uninjured leg is already taking up the slack caused by Horse not standing on Leg A much, and using Leg B more. Therefore, I wrap both legs to support injury and support overuse in Leg B.

    I've observed the same issue in my own legs, following a knee injury that required "wrapping". The "good" leg became fatigued and sore due to favoring the bad leg.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    • #3
      Ditto what CC said.

      But, if I'm wrapping to keep a minor wound clean or something similar, I don't usually bother wrapping both.


      • #4
        Yeah to the above. And let's be clear: Symmetry also *looks* good. Nothin' like having the broken one standing in a stall for you to look at often look good, like you cared, like he'll heal because you tried so hard and did everything right.

        Make of all this what you will.

        When it comes to wraps and boots for work, honest vets and anatomists will tell you that the amount of support for tendons we can apply from the outside is spit in the ocean compared to the mechanical forces exerted on these tendons and ligaments. We are fooling ourselves if the think we can hold up a horse's fetlock in any way.

        But for the stall-bound horse? He may be more prone to edema than he would be otherwise. If you don't like the look, and/or don't want fluid in the way of healing collagen fibers, then wrapping actually does serve a legitimate purpose.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • #5
          We don't. Or, to clarify, *I* don't. If there is a wound that needs to be wrapped, I wrap the affected limb only. I don't wrap for many other reasons, other than perhaps a horse that is prone to stocking up when stuck in a stall, and obviously there I'd do all four.

          The only exception I might make is a horse that is so VERY lame/sore that he is putting massive weight on the opposite leg, and in that scenario I'd only be doing it to cope with potential swelling in the "good" leg, not under the misapprehension that I could actually "support" the good leg with anything short of a six-inch-thick, massively restrictive bandage which might do its own version of harm.

          I much prefer ice/cold therapy, good bedding, and judicious movement to "support" legs.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            I don't wrap both *unless* the injury is causing a significant enough increase in weight-bearing of the other leg.

            Otherwise it's just double work and double the chances of having the horse kill himself with the wrap
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • #7
              Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
              I've always worked on the principle that if I'm wrapping Leg A, with an injury to it that requires support, then Leg B, the uninjured leg is already taking up the slack caused by Horse not standing on Leg A much, and using Leg B more. Therefore, I wrap both legs to support injury and support overuse in Leg B.

              I've observed the same issue in my own legs, following a knee injury that required "wrapping". The "good" leg became fatigued and sore due to favoring the bad leg.
              Agree. When I sprained my ankle this spring, my good leg got very sore from me constantly shifting my weight to it. I also saw what can happen on a seriously lame horse without added support (bowed the tendon on the good leg, but by that point, we were already preparing ourselves to put him down because of the offending leg ).

              I understand the theory that you don't HAVE to wrap both legs for minor stuff, but I can't not wrap both. I guess it's the symmetry thing that mvp talks about.


              • #8
                To support the other, and to prevent people coming through the barn from assuming something is wrong with the horse.


                • #9
                  Depending on the horse, I will sometimes wrap the sound leg of a pair so that the horse is a bit less likely to pay excess attention with lips and teeth to the injured one.
                  I have also noted that some horses "walk funny" with one leg wrapped, but not both.

                  But in the grand scheme of things, it probably isn't a big deal either way in most cases.
                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                  • #10
                    I agree that if it is a major injury with major lameness in the affected leg, wrapping both is a good idea. But, for something minor or if the horse is fairly sound at the walk on the injured leg, I will just wrap the injured leg. I have more than enough work to do without adding anything unnecessary. I have a horse with a suspensory strain right now and at first I had all 4 legs wrapped because she was stocking up in back. Once that went away, she now just has the front left that has the strain wrapped. But, she is sound at the walk and not putting any unnecessary strain on her good front leg.


                    • #11
                      I don't. Worked in the CSU vet hospital and they don't either. Unless I really think they are compensating with the good leg then I will, but under normal circumstances I only wrap the effected one. Wrapping, well bad wrapping, can cause more harm than good.

                      When my mare was 3 legged lame because of her abscess and non-weight bearing, I did wrap the good leg because it was swelling when she was stalled, but when I turned her out at night she was not wrapped.
                      I love cats, I love every single cat....
                      So anyway I am a cat lover
                      And I love to run.