Stone Bruises

 Stone Bruise 

What is a Stone Bruise

This is a ‘bruise’ to the sole of the hoof usually caused by a trauma injury like standing on a stone, rock or short stake sticking out of the ground which initially starts as a bruise with the bruises tissue becoming inflamed and then infected to produce a pus filled pocket causing extreme pain to the horse as the inflammation is ‘trapped’ within the immobile hoof wall and sole. Some horses are more prone to stone bruises particularly if they have thin soles and brittle hoofs.


  • By treading on a stone or other sharp object.
  • Concussion from working on hard or uneven ground.
  • Incorrectly fitted shoes
  • Poorly trimmed and unbalanced feet
  • Poor horn and sole quality.
  • Predisposition to infections due to poor immune response.

Clinical Signs

  • Initial lameness in response to stepping on a hard object or stone and then continuing normally only to come up lame the next day.
  • Sudden acute lameness that is accentuated on hard surfaces.
  • Discoloration on the sole of the foot.
  • Withdrawing the foot when tested with pinchers.
  • Warmth that can be felt on the horn of foot.

Immediate Action

  • Immediately rest the horse providing it with deep litter.
  • Remove the shoe on affected foot.
  • Poultice the foot for the first two days.
  • Soak the foot in a bucket of warm water with Epsom salts.
  • Your farrier may be able to pare away the sole if an abscess has formed to relieve pressure build up.

Traditional and Veterinary Treatment

  • In severe cases anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone (Bute) may be used.
  • Poulticing will soften the foot and this needs to be hardened up using gentian violet and an antibiotic spray, phenol, iodine or a formalin mixture.
  • A protective pad may be fitted to protect the sole but care must be taken that fungal infections do not form under it or small stones get trapped under it.

Alternative and Herbal Treatment 

  • Pare away the affected area to release infection
  • 10- 20ml daily of Devil’s Claw for the first few days for pain and inflammation.
  • Flush out the puncture wound with Hyperdula Spray ( Calendula and St John’s Wort)
  • Some have found using a syringe and squirting a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide into the cavity that the infected material ie pus will fizz and bubble out of the wound site. This can then be repacked with a sterile wad of disinfectant, iodine and/or Hyperdula Spray.
  • Horses with brittle hooves and thin soles may be given supplements containing biotin, methionine and Omega 3 oils. ( While cod liver oil is recommended by some we do not support feeding animal or fish products to  herbivores including horses) Hira Conditioning Hoof Chaff may be given to improve horn  and sole quality.
  • Horses prone to repeated hoof infections may be given immune enhancing supplements like, aged garlic tincture ( does not irritate the gut like raw or dried garlic), Hira Equi-Ech (echinacea tincture) and or Hira Immune Tonic with 10 % echinacea ( contains a blend of immune enhancing herbs)
  • Feeding of plant gelatine-like substances. ( pectins) Note we do not recommend giving horse gelatine because it is animal based (produced from hooves of calves) Bark from willow is known to improve hoof quality.


DISCLAIMER: Hira Laboratories will not be held responsible for the use or misuse of any products listed. We recommend that either a qualified herbalist or your animal professional carry out diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Herbal remedies must not be given not be taken in conjunction with other medication with out consulting a medical professional.

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