Pastern

Pastern

Anatomy
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Pastern

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Description:
The pastern is a part of the leg of a horse between the fetlock and the top of the hoof. It incorporates the long pastern bone (proximal phalanx) and the short pastern bone (middle phalanx), which are held together by two sets of paired ligaments to form the pastern joint (proximal interphalangeal joint). Anatomically homologous to the two largest bones found in the human finger, the pastern was famously mis-defined by Samuel Johnson in his dictionary as "the knee of a horse". When a lady asked Johnson how he came to do so, he gave the much-quoted reply: "Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance."James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D.,

Anatomy and importance of the pastern



The pastern consists of two bones, the uppermost called the "large pastern bone" or proximal phalanx, which begins just under the fetlock joint, and the lower called the "small pastern bone" or middle phalanx, located between the large pastern bone and the coffin bone, outwardly located at approximately the coronary band. The joint between these two bones is aptly called the "pastern joint". This joint has limited movement, but does help to disperse the concussive forces of the horse's step and also has some influence on the flexion or extension of the entire leg. The pastern is vital in shock absorption. When the horse's front leg is...
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