Sunday, December 14, 2014

Frog Function revisited

When you are asked what the function of the frog is what do you say? It's a pump, its for traction, its a shock absorber? Over the centuries we have come to accept the frog's function based on, for the most part supposition. There have been numerous studies done on the frog from many different perspectives, but I have not seen many that looked at the frog from my perspective.If the frog's primary function was to act as a pump then why the triangle shape? A simple question. Why has the frog not take on the form of a pad whose confirmation was closer to that of a half sphere? After all when I need to prime my Weed Eater I pump the little rubber half bubble on its carb, this conformation makes sense, but a triangle?
 One has to explore the foundations of the foot to formulate an understanding of why the frog is triangular in shape. In my video on foot function and in class I use a simple paper plate to help explain part of its conformation. On the paper plate I draw the solar structures of the hoof, then grab the area of the plate that represents the heels and attempt to distort the plate without causing distortion to occur at the area that represents P3 (the toe area). You will find that it can't be done. Now cut out the area represented by the frog, and attempt to do the same. Now you can induce distortion to the caudal foot, and the "V" known as the Frog Stay aids in isolating the distortion to the caudal foot, protecting the coffin joint and P3 from torque. Why? The foundations of the caudal foot are cartilage. Each of the lateral cartilages (Palmar Foundations) can distort independently of one another, providing elastic potential acting as torque arms to protect the dorsal foundation from torque (P3).
In an effort to define frog function it is important that you identify true conformation of the frog, including its distal surface and proximal surface. Many of the studies conducted do not take into consideration the proximal or axial surface of the insensitive frog. The proximal surface is where we find the Frog Spine. The Frog Spine function has not to the best of my knowledge been defined. In frog function studies at the Institute the frog spine is viewed as a dynamic structure that functions to direct the energies created during the stride.  From my perspective the primary function of the frog is to act as a vehicle for the delivery of stimulus to the appropriate structures within the caudal foot. Subscribing to this definition of frog function helps us to understand the correlation between health of the frog and health of the digital cushion, and ungluar cartilages. I recall closing my talk at the International Hoof Summit in 2006 with this statement "if you have poor health to the frog, you can't expect to achieve health in the caudal foot." Under run heels, poor bar conformation (frog stay conformation), contracted heels are all the result of weak structure due to lack of correct stimulus. Having a means to deliver correct stimulus to the structures of the caudal foot is paramount in developing health, and the frog is the primary vehicle for the delivery of that stimulus.