Shockwave therapy uses high-energy acoustic (sound) waves to stimulate healing of tissues and provide pain relief. ESWT has been used on a variety of equine musculoskeletal disorders, including back pain, insertional desmopathies, tendonopathies, non-healing fractures and dorsal metacarpal disease (bucked shins). For horses with chronic pain and lameness that have not responded to conservative treatment, shock wave therapy should be considered as a viable treatment option for certain types of injuries. A tendon or ligament injury that involves the insertion of that structure on the bone is a good candidate for shock wave therapy. Similarly, a horse with chronic back pain may respond well to shock wave therapy by obtaining some pain relief that enables the horse to start to use his back muscles and build up strength. There is also some evidence that shock wave therapy may have a beneficial affect on chronic tendon injuries where the presence of scar tissue is slowing the complete healing process.
There is still much to learn about the actual affects of shock wave therapy and when it is most effective but it is a treatment option that should be considered in certain cases.