Windgalls in horses: What are they, why does your horse have them and how to get rid of them

Last Updated on April 13, 2022 by Allison Price

Although a dog is a man’s best friend and a horse is history, they say the horse is history. Horses have been fighting alongside men for centuries and many empires were built together with them.

Although you may not have to fight with your horses anymore, they are still very important in your daily life.

We understand that your horse’s daily life should be as easy as possible. Windgalls, for example, can get in the way of horses’ comfort.

What is windgalls?

Windgalls, also known as wind puffs, are soft swellings that can be found on horses’ hind legs just above their fetlock. They can sometimes be seen on the forelegs of horses in certain cases.

The joint between horses’ cannon bones and pastern is called the fetlock. Although it is easily compared to a human’s ankle, the fetlock joint has more technical similarities than the ball of the feet. fetlock is a translation of foot-lock . It was originally called the small tuft or hair at the rear of the joint.

Windgalls in Horses

Windgalls are soft, round swellings that are filled with fluid. They measure approximately 2 cm in diameter, one on each side of the fetlock. They should not be hot and should not cause a horse to feel lame (change in their gait).

Two types of windgalls

Tendinous windgall

Horses most commonly have the tendinous windgall. They shouldn’t cause any problems. Tendinous windgalls can be a problem in ponies and horses of middle age who have been ridden hard. Tendinous windgalls can occur in horses. Tendinous windgall swelling is often caused by thickened membrane sheaths and not fluid.

Articular windgall

This is the most common type of windgall and is usually an indicator of a disease. They are often found in cases degenerative joint disease of your fetlock. These can also occur due to trauma. Many horses who appear “normal” continue to have articular windgalls.

How do horses get windgalls.

Horses suffering from windgalls are an unavoidable side effect of an active lifestyle. Windgalls can be found in older horses or horses who have been working a lot. Windgalls are more common in horses who work on poor terrain or receive poor nutrition.

Windgalls can flare up when a horse’s immune systems is affected by a viral infection. In hot weather, horses can experience more swelling, while in colder weather it may be less noticeable.

Are windgalls serious?

Windgalls are generally benign and cause minimal damage to the horse’s joints. They are generally painless and not hot to touch.

When is it best to take your horse to the veterinarian?

If your horse feels unsteady or has a windgall (or any swelling below their fetlock), you should be concerned. These symptoms could indicate that your horse may have an injury to their fetlock, or degenerative joint disease. These symptoms can be a sign that your horse is suffering from a degenerative joint disease. We recommend you take your horse to the vet immediately.

How do you treat windgalls swelling?

Cold therapy

Horse-ice packs are extremely effective in providing cold therapy to windgalls. These horse ice packs are made to reduce tissue-related pain like windgalls. Cold therapy can reduce swelling. Ice packs made specifically for horses should be used. They often have flexible straps that can be adjusted even after being frozen. Our horses should be as comfortable as we can!

Windgalls can be found in overworked horses or hardworking horses. It is a good idea to give them a break. This will reduce windgall swelling and your horse will be grateful.


After your horse has taken a well-deserved break, you can put them on a controlled exercise program to reduce swelling from windgalls.


You can apply bandaging to your horse’s legs during exercise or light work. Bandaging not only conceals the windgall’s appearance, but also reduces swelling. Horse Ice Packs like this have adjustable straps that will hold the pack in place with minimal movement. They can also double as a compress bandage.


Many racehorse trainers use magnotherapy to increase blood flow to the weaker parts of their horses. Magnetic therapy increases blood flow in certain areas. It is non-invasive and does not require any drugs. Increased circulation can sometimes reduce swelling.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed if your veterinarian has recommended it for your horse with minor lameness.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!