Study the illustrations on this page to learn the correct leg and feet structures. When you are done studying, go to the next page to start a test.

Splayfooted or Knock Kneed - When viewed from the front, the knees are close together and the feet toe out away from each other. This problem is often seen in extremely light-muscled, narrow-chested cattle when the legs are naturally set too close together.

Pigeon Toed or Bowlegged - When viewed from the front or rear, the knees set too far out, causing the toes to turn inward.

Cow Hocked - When viewing the hind legs from the rear, the hocks are turned inward or are placed too close together, causing the toes to turn outward.

Sickle Hocked - When viewing the rear legs from the side, the hock has too much angle or set, causing the steer to stand too far underneath himself. Often these calves will droop excessively from hooks to pins.

Postlegged - The hock has too little angle or set. The calf is too straight through the joint, resulting in very stiff, restricted movement because of the lack of flexibility. More cattle become unsound because of being postlegged than sickle hocked.


Buck Kneed - When the calf is "over at the knees," or buck kneed, full extension of the knee cannot occur. When observed from the side the legs appear slightly bent. This is usually seen in cattle that are too straight in the shoulder.

Calf Kneed - This is the other extreme, the opposite of buck kneed, where the calf stands "back at the knees" when viewed from the side.


Images and text Copyright, Ohio State University Extension. Used with permission.