Aetiopathogenesis of parasagittal fractures of the distal condyles of the third metacarpal and third metatarsal bones - review of the literature


  • C. M. RIGGS

    1. Division of Equine Studies, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science and Animal Husbandry, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, South Wirrai L64 7TE, UK.
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Fractures are the cause of considerable morbidity and mortality among Thoroughbred racehorses. A significant proportion of these injuries occur in the absence of any particular traumatic incident. Evidence of prefracture pathology interpreted as fatigue damage has been identified in some such cases, but the aetiology of many of these so-called ‘spontaneous’ fractures remains obscure. Parasagittal fractures of the third metacarpal (McIII) and third metatarsal (MtIII) bones are one of the more common fractures to affect Thoroughbred racehorses. The configuration of each of these fracture types is highly consistent, suggesting a predisposition of the bones to these injuries. Several theories have been proposed to explain the aetiopathogenesis of these fractures although none has so far stood up to critical examination. The current paper reviews the literature relating to parasagittal fractures of McIII and MtIII.