The properties of the suspensory and supporting structures of the bovine claw are of particular importance in the pathogenesis of claw lesions since both must function optimally to prevent soft tissue compression and trauma. An essential component is the shock-absorbing digital cushion situated under the distal phalanx. The sound claws of 54 slaughtered cows were dissected. The digital cushion consisted of three parallel pads--axial, middle and abaxial--that ran longitudinally from the heel and underneath the distal phalanx with numerous transverse finger-shaped branches that connected the axial and abaxial pads cranial to the flexor process of the distal phalanx. The middle fat pad frequently ended just at the apical end of the flexor process of the distal phalanx, which may result in an inferior cushioning effect under the distal phalanx and increase the likelihood of ulcers. There were differences in the structure of the digital cushion with age and loose connective tissue in heifers' pads was first replaced by fat which, after the third lactation, was gradually supplanted by collagenous connective tissue.