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Understanding Medical Terminology

Education in this industry, and every other industry for that matter, is what separates those that go far from those that just get by. One of the things that keep people from gaining real knowledge about farriery, is the terminology. You don’t have to be a genius or a doctor, you just have to practice. If you can master these terms, having an intelligent conversation with vets becomes second nature and you might even earn their respect.

Learning medical terminology is the first step. Once you master the terms in this post, understanding the anatomy of the equine leg will become much easier. Here are the terms every farrier needs to know.

Terms

Medial
pertaining to or situated towards the midline; inside
Lateral
pertaining to or situated at the side; outside
Proximal
opposed to distal; above
Distal
opposed to proximal; below
Anterior
situated toward the front, opposite to posterior; front
Posterior
situated to the back, opposite anterior; behind
Exotosis
a new growth of bone protruding from the outer surface of the bone; bone spur
Ossification
formation of or conversion into bone; cartilage turns to bone
-itis
suffix meaning inflammation
Bi
prefix meaning two or double
-osis
suffix meaning a condition
Inter
prefix meaning between
Deep
closest to the bone
Superficial
closest to the skin
Limb
from the hip or shoulder down
Leg
from the knee or hock down
Digi
From the fetlock down
Foot
the hoof and all it’s contents
Valgus
knock kneed
Varus
bowlegged
Cranial
towards the head; opposite to caudal
Caudal
away from the head; opposite to cranial
Dorsal
the front of the limb; opposite to palmer/plantar
Palmer
the back of the fore limb; opposite to dorsal
Plantar
the back of the hind limb; opposite to dorsal
Carpus
the knee joint
Tarsus
the hock joint
Axial
straight down the center line of body or structure
Abaxial
away from the center line of body
adaxial
towards the center line of body

That’s not every term you need to know but that is a good basis to start with. Now it’s time to put these terms into action. I tell my students that they should incorporate these terms into their practice and teach their clients these terms as well. Teaching after all is simply learning twice.

Once you understand these terms, hit the books. Learn the anatomy and see what it does for your business. If you call yourself a professional after all, it is your obligation to become as knowledgeable as humanly possible. Once you have the knowledge it is also your responsibility to preserve the trade and share your knowledge.

“Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a mortal right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”                                                                               -Teddy Roosevelt