(c) By the Use of Thin Metal Plates. - These are of use when the horn of the wall is too thin to allow of clamping, and are therefore of especial use in cracks of the quarters. The plates are made so as to cover the greater part of the length of the lesion, and are fastened to the wall by two or more screws on either side of the crack. It is an advantage to slightly let the plate into the wall by means of fitting it hot. In a complicated crack the plate serves the further useful purpose of holding in position antiseptic pledgets, and so keeping the lesion free from dirt and grit.
(d) By Various Methods of bandaging the whole Circumference of the Wall. - In our opinion this method of attempting to secure immobility of the crack, and so prevent its extension, is not often followed by success. The main objection to the method is that it subjects the whole of the wall to the same pressure, and does not restrict the operation to the point at which it is required. As in the case of the metal plate, however, this method has the advantage that antiseptic dressings may be kept in position in the case of a complicated crack.
Fig. 90. - Sand-Crack Belt.
The binding of the wall may be accomplished in two ways. The simpler of the two is to merely apply the sand-crack belt depicted in Fig. 90. Beneath this should be applied a compress of tar and tow or other material, and the whole tightened up and kept in position by means of the buckle and strap. This method of binding admits of after-tightening should it unfortunately work loose.
The older method of binding the wall, and one now often practised by the smith, is to use a quantity of so-called 'tar-band' or other stout cord. With this the foot is neatly bound after the manner of a cricket-bat handle, and all movement of the crack apparently restricted. There is always a tendency, however, for such a dressing to work loose, and in the case of a complicated crack it has the disadvantage of permanently hiding from view the changes taking place in the discharge from the fissure.
(e) By wedging the Crack. - This is the exact opposite of clamping. Whereas in clamping we obtain immobility of the crack by keeping it fixed in the position of greatest approximation of its edges, in wedging, the crack is rendered free from movement by maintaining it in that position where its edges are most widely separated. In this case the edges of the crack are pared smooth, the cavity thoroughly cleansed, and a wedge of hard wood firmly driven in so as to fit exactly the fissure.
On the face of it it appears that this procedure would really tend to force open and so lengthen the crack, especially at its coronary extremity. What one should really remember, however, is that the crack is not made wider than before, but that it is simply maintained in a position occurring with every contraction of the heels of the foot, when it is normally at its widest. Movement of the edges is thereby stopped, the immediately surrounding structures are rested, and a new growth of horn, free from crack, induced to grow down from the coronet.
This method of treatment only serves to emphasize the fact that, with a sand-crack once formed, it is the constant movement of the parts that tends most to keep it in existence, and not any particularly marked exertion of force.
Some practitioners, with the wedge, apply also a clamp, thus assuring additional firmness and solidity to that portion of the wall under treatment.
The method of wedging is undoubtedly successful, if neatly performed.
(f) By Surgical Shoeing. - A partial rest is given to the affected parts by easing the bearing of the shoe at the point required. This may be done either by removal of part of the wall at the spot indicated, or by thinning the web of the shoe in the same position. The former is the method usually practised. Cessation of movement given in this way is, as we have already said, only partial; for, while the effects of pressure and concussion from below are minimized, the crack is still able to suffer from the movements of expansion and contraction of the foot. Still, as an auxiliary to other treatments, 'easing' of the wall under the affected part should always be practised.
Fig. 91. - The Bearing 'Eased' By Removal Of The Wall.
Fig. 92. - The Bearing 'Eased' By Thinning The Web Of The Shoe.
Figs. 91 and 92 show respectively the manner of 'easing' by removal of the wall, and by thinning the web of the shoe. In this connection it is necessary to point out that on no account should 'springing' of the heels of the shoe be allowed. Fig. 93 illustrates the ill-practice.
In this case, when the entire weight is thrown on to the heels, the portion of wall posterior to the crack is bound to participate unduly in the downward movement, and so tend to widening of the crack at its highest point.
Fig. 93. - The Bearing 'Eased' By 'Springing' The Heel Of The Shoe.
We have already referred to the matter of 'clips.' In no case, whether the crack be at the toe or in the quarters, should a clip be placed immediately below it. If the crack is at the toe, the usual clip should be dispensed with, and a clip at each side made to take its place. At the same time care should be taken to avoid throwing the weight far forward. For that reason a shoe with calkins or with very high heels should be removed, and a shoe with an ordinary flat web substituted.
In the case of quarter-crack, where the constant movement of the parts under expansion and contraction of the foot makes itself most felt, it is wise to apply a shoe with clips fitting moderately tight against the inside of the bars. By this means movement will to a very large extent be curtailed.
Where a marked tendency to contraction is found, as is often the case with quarter-crack, then the shoe with the clips may be rendered more marked in its operation by giving to the outer face of each clip - that face applied to the bar - a slope from above downwards and outwards. In other words, a slipper shoe should be applied and the contraction given equally as much attention as the sand-crack itself.
Where the crack is situated far back in the quarter, and easing of the bearing cannot be accomplished without tending to spring the heels, then the most suitable shoe is a bar shoe. With it the bearing may, of course, be eased in exactly the position required, and the heels still allowed to take their fair share in bearing the body-weight, and thus assist in closing the crack. The bar shoe, if properly fitted, gives us also a bearing on the frog, and aids greatly in counteracting contraction.