Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is often performed to determine the cause of palmar heel pain. We evaluated how distension of the navicular bursa affected the MR appearance of the navicular bursa and associated structures. An MR evaluation was performed on normal cadaver limbs and cadaver limbs from horses with lameness localized to the foot. The normal navicular bursae were injected with 2, 4, or 6 ml of solution. The bursae of the feet from lame horses were injected with 4 or 6 ml, and the MR study was repeated. All bursae were examined grossly to verify the presence or absence of adhesions. Clinical patients that had initial MRI abnormalities suggesting adhesions were also evaluated. Distension of the proximal recess of the normal navicular bursa, proximal to the collateral sesamoidean ligament was achieved with 2 ml. Separation of the collateral sesamoidian ligament from the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) was achieved with 4 ml. The separation of the navicular bone from the DDFT and distal sesamoidian impar ligament required 6 ml. Adhesions were more clearly defined in the bursa of the two pathologic cadaver limbs following distension. MR bursography used on clinical patients allowed the determination of the presence or absence of adhesions. In these horses, this determination could not have been definitively made without this technique. MR bursography is useful in horses where the presence of adhesions cannot be clearly defined by MRI.