Equine Hoof Wall Deformation: Novel Aspects Revealed

Benjamin S. Lazarus, Rachel K. Luu, Samuel Ruiz-Pérez, Josiane D.V. Barbosa, Iwona Jasiuk, Marc A. Meyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The equine hoof wall has a unique hierarchical structure that allows it to survive high-impact scenarios. Previous authors have explored the compressive, viscoelastic, and fracture control properties of the hoof wall and suggested that this complex structure plays a vital role in the hoof's behavior. However, the link between the structure and the behavior of the hoof wall has been made primarily with the use of post-fracture analysis. Here, periodic microcomputed tomography scans are used to observe the temporal behavior of the hoof's meso and microstructures during compression, fracture, and relaxation. These results shed light on the structural anisotropy of the hoof wall and how its hollow tubules behave when compressed in different directions, at different hydration levels, and in various locations within the hoof wall. The behavior of tubule bridges during compression is also reported for the first time. This study elucidates several fracture phenomena, including the way cracks are deflected at tubule interfaces and tubule bridging, tubule arresting, and fiber bridging. Finally, relaxation tests are used to show how the tubule cavities can regain their shape after compression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2200402
JournalSmall Structures
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • equine hooves
  • keratin
  • periodic microcomputed tomography
  • stress relaxation
  • tubular structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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