Extracorporeal shockwaves are high pressure sound waves used for therapeutic purposes. Shockwave therapy was originally developed to treat kidney stones in humans. The veterinary community has taken this technology and applied shockwave to orthopedic conditions.
In equine field services we use a High Medical Technologies (HMT) – Versatron that generates electrohydraulic shock waves (waves with a large focal volume). There has been some research directed at explaining the exact mechanism of shockwave. Some studies have shown it to be pain relieving; others have shown that there are some changes at a microscopic level such as neovascularization and changes in cytokines. Although the exact mechanism has not been proven, there is a volume of anecdotal evidence that suggests that it is an alternative therapy that can be considered for a variety of musculoskeletal problems.