Blood supply to the foot

Arteries that supply the lower leg

1. Palmar common digital artery – main supply to all of the lower limb and hoof but in a hind leg is known as the dorsal metatarsal artery

2. Nutrient artery – supplying blood directly to the bone

3. The digital arteries – bilateral supply to the digits and hoof both medially and laterally

4. Branches to proximal and middle phalanges – acting as a circumflex artery around the bones

5. Artery to digital cushion – Bilateral supply to this structure

6. Terminal arch – Connects the two digital arteries together in the semi lunar sinus of P3

7. Circumflex artery of P3 – found on distal border of P3

8. Communicating branches – Found within the distal phalanx connecting the terminal arch with the circumflex artery

9. Dorsal distal phalangeal artery – travels along the parietal groove

10. Coronary artery – provides blood to coronary band

Veins of lower leg

1. Coronary vein with connecting plexus – Return blood from coronary band and surrounding structures

2. Sub coronary vein – returns blood from P2

3. Circumflex vein with connecting plexus – returns blood from distal border and solar surface

4. Dorsal vein with surrounding plexus – returns blood from sensitive laminae

5. Branch from P1 – returns blood from P1

6. Caudal hoof vein – returns blood from plantar/palmar aspect of foot

7. Digital veins – bilateral return from hoof and digits

8. Venous arch – where the digital veins meet above the fetlock

9. Deep metacarpal vein – ascends the centre of the metacarpal bone beneath the suspensory ligament

10. Medial metacarpal vein – ascends the medial aspect of the metacarpal bone

11. Lateral metacarpal vein – ascends lateral aspect of the metacarpal

What is Oedema/leg fill? And how does it work?

The body relies on movement to keep the flow of blood going around, this is equally true in humans as it is in horses. The lymphatic system is there to pick up excess fluid that has not been reabsorbed by the blood. These lymphatic vessels are extensive and most regions of the body will have a supply of lymphatic capillaries. The capillaries take this fluid to a lymph vessel and from there into a lymph duct which connects back to the cardiovascular system. Oedema occurs because these lymph structures rely on muscle contractions to open valves up and push fluid through the capillaries. Without movement this system does not work and the fluid will just build and build causing leg fill or oedema.