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Extracorporeal shockwave therapy

Spring Paddocks Equine clinic has been using focused extracorporeal shockwave therapy since 2000 and was one of the first practices in the UK to have an EquiTron™. We have carried out over 1000 treatments over this period, and have used it successfully to treat a wide range of conditions including:

  • Tendon and ligament strains - including the sacro-iliac area
  • Insertion desmopathies
  • Fractures
  • Bony exostoses (e.g. splints, side bones, bone spavins)
  • Kissing spines

Spring Paddocks Equine Clinic has an EquiTron™ that provides extracorporeal shock wave therapy. These are high energy shock waves. They are produced by a generator, applied to specific areas of the body, and focused at different depths within the body. There are two types of generators; non-focused (radial) and focused. The non-focused units create a pressure wave that radiates out from a point. The focused generators create a shockwave that is bounced off a reflective dish inside a hand-held probe which focuses the energy at varying depths. The EquiTron™ offers a non-invasive, non-surgical alternative.

Shockwave was originally developed in human medicine in 1991 to treat soft tissue problems such as heel spurs, tennis elbow, breaking up kidney stones and shoulder calcifications. In recent years this form of treatment has been applied to treat a number of orthopedic conditions in horses.

Clinically it also relieves pain and accelerates healing. The shockwaves may interact with the innervations of the affected tissue, and alter the metabolism of cells within the tissue. They may also stimulate collagen fiber orientation permitting better repair of tendon and ligament injury.

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is applied by placing a hand-held probe onto the body surface and directing toward the target tissue.

  1. The hair over the area is clipped, cleaned and a coupling gel is applied on the skin surface to allow good contact and get better transmission of the shockwaves from the probe into the tissue (air can be a good insulator for sound)
  2. Horses are treated on an outpatient basis sometimes under mild sedation or local anesthesia
  3. The average treatment time is 10-20 minutes
  4. The number of shocks used varies with each condition/individual case but is usually between 500 and 1500 shocks
  5. One to three treatments will normally be given with 1-3 week intervals