How To Wrap A Leg

If your horse has an injury to his lower leg, recovery from that injury may be helped by wrapping the leg either for support (in the event of a bowed tendon or strained suspensory ligament) or for protection from irritation by dirt (in the event of a cut or perhaps fungal infection). It is important to know HOW to wrap the leg, because too much or uneven pressure on the ligaments and tendons can result in further injury rather than speedier healing.

First, select the correct bandaging materials. You will need a quilt designed for wrapping horses' legs, available at any livestock supply store. Pick one with sufficient body and flexibility: The wrap must mold to the leg, but not twist or sag as you wrap. It is important to remember to check the padding in the quilt EACH TIME you rap the leg, to make sure it hasn't gotten lumpy, as this would put uneven pressure on tendons and ligaments, resulting in potential injury. Also have available some masking tape to secure the quilt.

Second, select a way to secure the wrap, usually a track bandage, available at the same livestock supply store. It is usually made of cotton, comes in a set of four, and must be somewhat stretchy, and have sufficient body to hold its shape. These usually have a Velcro strap to fix the bandage in place.

 Remember that you must wrap from one joint to the next: If the injury is to the superficial flexor tendon of a front leg, then, you must wrap from just below the knee to below the fetlock. A hind leg must be wrapped from just below the hock to the bottom of the fetlock.

To begin the wrap: roll up the quilt or padding material into a tube, then wrap the leg from just below the knee or hock to just below the fetlock. Mold the quilt to the leg, being careful to avoid lumps and twists of the fabric. Secure with the masking tape, but don't make the tape tight around the leg. Remember: no uneven pressure. Just make the wrap snug. Then roll up the track bandage, with the Velcro folded in on itself first. Make this a tight roll-it's easier to keep it evenly snug if you do. Then begin just below the knee or hock, and press the end of the track bandage to the padded leg, keeping the edge of the padding above the track bandage. Wrap downward, overlapping as you go, keeping the overlaps parallel to the ground and the snugness of the wrap consistent.. (If the bandage slants, the wrap will not stay snug). If you have enough bandage, wrap a figure 8 around the fetlock once or twice to finish the wrap, and secure it with the Velcro. Otherwise, simply finish the bandage just above the fetlock. Examine your handiwork: Check that there are no lumps or bumps by running both hands down the wrapped leg, also checking to make sure the bandage won't twist sideways to light pressure with your hands. You may secure the wrap further with masking tape-not tight-around the bandage in several places.

 To be safe, it's wise to re-wrap the leg every day. This way you can check for pressure points and the presence of irritation and fungal infection (from moisture). If the leg shows irritation, consult your vet: You may need to apply cornstarch to the leg before re-bandaging, or an anti-fungal cream.