In recent years our ability to diagnose conditions has improved markedly (digital x-rays, high resolution ultrasound etc.), but limited by our treatment options. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) brings a new treatment option that is minimally invasive with proven results. ESWT has become an established tool for treatments of a variety of injuries in the horse.
The shock wave machine uses a high energy pulse which produces a wave, which can be diverted to the precise area of injury. The waves passing through tissue are amplified where the tissue density changes substantially ( such as tendon or ligament to bone insertions). This results in a large amount of energy released into the surrounding tissue, creating a local massage effect increasing cellular membrane permeability. This allows better delivery of those blood borne factors required for healing.
Shock wave therapy has been shown to:
- Increase the rate of new blood vessel development (neovascularisation).
- Create short to medium term analgesia (painkilling effect).
- Stimulate new bone growth (osteogenesis).
- Stimulate fibroblasts, the cells that generate new connective tissue in tendons and ligaments.
- Stimulates tissue turnover and thus improves the rate of healing.
Conditions ESWT has been effective treating include:
- Suspensory ligament desmitis (strains/tears).
- Flexor tendon injuries (bowed tendons).
- Back, sacroiliac and neck problems.
- Navicular syndrome/disease.
The procedure is quick (10-20mins.) and safe, and is done in the standing horse under light sedation. Most conditions require 2-3 treatments at 2-3 week intervals. As the equipment is portable the procedure can be performed at your property.