What are windpuffs?

So one morning, you are going through your daily leg inspection and you notice there are some squishy parts of your horses fetlocks.  Could these be windpuffs?

Windpuffs are an easier way of saying “extra fluid around a tendon sheath, and a tendon sheath is the protective layer around a tendon which holds some lubricating fluid”.  What you may find is a roundish puffy spot that sticks out from the leg.  It may be the size of the tip of your pinky, or even larger than a golf ball.  You can press it in, and it’s kinda soft, and it bounces back.  Windpuffs are considered a cosmetic blemish, like a scar.



Daily leg inspections are a must!


The general guidelines about windpuffs are the following:

  • Old
  • Cold
  • Not lame
  • Not sensitive or tender
  • Develop over time
  • Can vary in size due to exercise amount and concussion on the ground
  • Typically symmetrical on both sets of legs
  • More common on the hind legs
  • Occur at the rear of the fetlocks 


This windpuff is squishy and about the size of a walnut. 


If you find something that wasn’t there yesterday, it may still end up being a windpuff, but a sudden appearance, heat, tenderness, and/or lameness warrant a call to the Veterinarian.  Because windpuffs involve tendons, they are not to be taken lightly if they appear suddenly or if they become warm, hot, tender, or painful and/or include lameness.  (Anyone who has rehabilitated a horse with a tendon injury can tell you a bunch of horror stories!)


Can you do anything for windpuffs?  Most of the time you don’t need to do anything.  If your horse has an injury or is bothered by the windpuffs, your Veterinarian will need to do some diagnostic work to find the underlying issues and then map out a treatment plan.  

Does your horse have windpuffs?