Bucked shins or dorsal metacarpal periostitis, is an important problem in horses in the racing industry, characterized as a condition causing inflammation and pain, and swelling in severe cases on the front of the horse's cannon bone. It somewhat resembles 'shin splints' in humans.
Bucked shins usually develops suddenly following a high-speed workout or first race. Horses will present with bilateral soft tissue swelling, inflammation, heat, and sensitivity (pain) on palpation over the front of the cannon bone (dorsal aspect of the metacarpus). There is usually accompanying lameness and/or some degree of soreness or stiffness. If affected horses as asked to continue to race and train, lameness will progressively worsen.
Each rehabilitation program is different for each horse, depending on the severity of clinical signs and radiographic and/or scintigraphic results. However, it will usually initially begin with stall rest (typically for 2 weeks) and hand walking for 10-15 minutes once or twice daily. Once soft tissue swelling and pain on palpation has subsided, horses are able to start on a controlled exercise program.
Usually recommended in conjunction with stall rest, starting immediately following an acute case of bucked shins, continued until pain and swelling has subsided.
Modification of training regimen
Train on different ground surfaces - woodchip based or grass is better than traditional dirt.
Continuously monitor racing horses for signs of shin soreness.