Filled Legs

A diffusely enlarged leg below the knee or hock (filled legs) may be caused by the following;

  • Subsolar infection
  • Mud fever
  • Cellulitis
  • Tendon/ligament sprain
  • Lymphangitis
  • Direct trauma or long periods of reduced mobility (e.g. during stall rest)

Lack of muscle movement causes lymph to stagnate in the lower leg, the lymphatic fluid spreads to the surrounding tissue rather than being circulated back up the legs. If such symptoms of filled legs go untreated the condition may degenerate into lymphangitis.

Can Niagara Equissage help horses with filled legs?


But firstly it is important to try and ascertain the cause of the filled legs. Some horses do have a predisposition to filling of the lower legs, particularly around the joints of the hind legs when they are stabled. Soon after they start moving around, the filling goes. Niagara Equissage excels in these situations as the deep penetrating massage with its palpating, cycloidal action gets to work moving the lymph fluid and eases the congestion where the vessels close off.

For other causes of Filled Legs see;

  • Bursal Strains
  • Tendons
  • Lymphangitis


Use the Back Pad on a higher speed to really “kick start” the system and reach the extremities, provided the horse in question has no other condition which will be compromised by the higher setting.

Some horses are a little concerned initially about the higher speed as it is a bit noisy, so see what the horse is happy with. If the leg boot can be used as well, then all the better with 10 minutes (medium to high setting) on each leg alternating daily between the fore and hind legs.

If the horse is on a period of stall rest due to injury or following surgery then use the Back Pad on a lower setting (No.3-4) two or three times a day with as long as possible between sessions so as not to over-stimulate the lymphatic system into working too hard.

Point to note: Do check that the horse’s diet is not contributing to the filled legs.


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