Panel: Kris ECST

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy

More commonly known as just shockwave, is a relatively new treatment modality that has shown efficacy in treating certain conditions. Some successful applications for shockwaves have been suspensory ligament desmitis, chronic muscle soreness (back pain) and fibrosis, and tendonitis, although it has also been used with good results for horses with chronic heel pain (navicular syndrome) and other tendon injuries. Shockwaves are high-energy sound waves, which are generated by compressed air. A hand piece is used to focus and transmit the waves. The waves travel through tissues via contact with the hand piece, affecting the soft tissue and bone structures in a targeted area. Shockwave is performed on a sedated, standing horse, and treatments usually take less than 20 minutes.

Shockwave is usually administered as a series of treatments, every 2 weeks. It is important to have a diagnosis prior to treating with shockwave, so a lameness workup is generally required prior to treatment.