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Injecting the coffin joint for navicular

Quick facts

  • Injecting the coffin joint with triamcinolone acetonide (TA) is a good way to deliver TA to the navicular bursa for horses with navicular syndrome.

  • No studies have been done to show what level of TA is needed to control pain in the joint or bursa.

Internal anatomy of the horse hoof including coffin joint, coffin bone, hoof wall, navicular bursa and navicular bone.
Internal anatomy of the horse hoof
X ray image of horse hoof showing needle placement in the navicular bursa.
X-rays confirm needle placement in the navicular bursa.

Navicular syndrome commonly causes lameness in horses. Veterinarians often treat this syndrome with a coffin joint injection. This injection usually consists of the following.

  • Triamcinolone acetonide (TA), a corticosteroid

  • Sodium hyaluronate (HA)

Injecting the coffin joint relieves lameness in many cases. Some suggest injecting the corticosteroid into the navicular bursa can have better results. This type of injection is harder and requires x-rays to correctly place the needle in the bursa.

Testing injection sites

The goal of the study was to see if injecting TA into the coffin joint is a good treatment for horses with navicular syndrome. 


This work was supported by grants from the AQHA, the University of Minnesota Equine Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, and University of Minnesota with funds provided by the Minnesota Racing Commission, Minnesota Agricultural Experimental Station, and contributions from private donors.

Mary Boyce, DVM ACVS Surgeon; Jane Manfredi, DVM formerly with the University of Minnesota; and Erin Malone, DVM

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