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Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT for short)

A non-invasive tool that is used to promote healing, epecially in ligaments, tendons and 'boney' structures. 

What is a Shockwave?

A shockwave is a high energy sound wave that quickly increases when traveling through tissue. The fast and intense changes in pressure result in something called cavitation - meaning the sudden formation and collapsing of low pressure bubbles. Since the waves come from outside, the threapy is refered to as extracorporeal. (Just a fancy word for 'outside the body'!)

How does it help?

Sending shockwaves through tissue repeatedly creates a micro-trauma. This helps cause an increase in blood flow and formation of new blood vessels in the targeted area. The better the blood supply and tissue nutrients are, the better the healing process. ESWT has been proven to speed up and improve the quality of healing.

There are two types of Extracorporeal Shockwave Treatment:

  1. Focused - Targets a specific area for focused energy with deep tissue penetration. Preferred form to treat muscuskeletal problems.
  2. Non-focused - Provides variable, less intense waves with limited tissue penetration. It can be used to effectively treat some superficial injuries.

Here are some Injuries that could benefit from Shockwave Treatment:

  • Tendon disease
  • Degenerative joint diseaseof the distal hock, pastern or coffin joints
  • Navicular Syndrome
  • Injuries: neck, lumbosacral, sacroiliac
  • Bone Bruising
  • Collateral ligament injury
  • Bucked shins
  • Stress fractures
  • Splint bone inflammation or fracture
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Infected or large wounds
  • Muscle tears and strains
  • Suspensory ligament tears and strains 
  • Suspensory injuries with avulsion fractures

Although shockwave treatment is not for every case, it is a helpful tool we can provide - when applicable - to help decrease discomfort and increase healing. If you have any questions regarding the process of this treatment, feel free to discuss it with Dr. Rachael. She will advise you whether or not this treatment is something that your horse could benefit from.