Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

ESWT is a non-invasive treatment that can speed the healing of many types of orthopedic and soft tissue injuries and conditions.

What does a shockwave do?
Shockwave therapy has been shown to:

  • Stimulate new bone growth
  • Increase healing via the release of a cascade of healing and growth factors that contribute to the healing process
  • Stimulate stem cells in the animals body to be directed to the treated area
  • Promote neovascularization (ingrowth of new blood vessels)

Shockwave therapy has been successfully used to treat many soft tissue and bony problems, both acute and chronic. These include:

  • Suspensory ligament tears and strains
  • Tendon tears and strains
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Collateral ligament injuries
  • Navicular syndrome
  • Back pain

The Equipment
With this machine the shockwaves are focused so that they can be directed precisely to the particular area of injury. Additionally, the energy level and the depth of penetration of the shockwaves can be varied to suit the injury.

What is the treatment protocol?
The precise treatment protocol depends on the diagnosis of each individual patient. Treatment varies in the number of shockwaves administered and the energy of those shockwaves. Most conditions are treated a total of three times spaced at 7-21 day intervals.

What is involved in the procedure?
The procedure is performed in a standing patient under mild sedation. The area to be treated is clipped and a conduction gel is applied to ensure good contact between the skin and the probe head.

When will results be seen?
Usually, the horse will start to see some reduction in pain within hours. This will generally last 2-4 days and then the horse will return to close to the original status. Then, over the next two to three weeks, actual healing will take place.

Does Shockwave work on every case?
No, there is no treatment that is successful in every case. It is extremely important to have an accurate diagnosis and a clearly defined area of injury in order to direct the shockwave to the appropriate area.

Adjunctive therapies, contratherapies and contraindications.
Several forms of therapy are recommended after treatment to aid in reducing inflammation and promote healing. Icing and pressure bandage wraps may be beneficial. Non or low impact physical therapies such as walking and swimming may be appropriate to maintain condition while allowing injuries to heal. A rehabilitation regime will be developed and tailored to the individual patient taking into consideration the type and extent of injury.

Counter irritation (such as blistering) is not recommended to be used in conjunction with ESWT as the inflammatory response elicited by these techniques may interfere with the healing/immune response of the ESWT.