Last Updated on March 8, 2022 by Allison Price

What’s shockwave therapy?

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Technology is a technique that uses a special machine to deliver a concentrated, high-energy pressure wave to a particular location on the body. The treatment causes a variety of biological changes to the tissue being treated. It stimulates the release proteins that are associated with healing, and also regulates inflammation and provides pain relief.


Shockwave can be used to treat injuries to muscle, tendon and ligament. Shockwave therapy can also be used to relieve chronic pain in areas like the back and poll. Shockwave therapy can be used to treat wounds that are large or difficult to heal.

Patient history

Coco December 2018, several days after the initial injury

Coco, a thoroughbred mare of 20 years, was presented for evaluation because she experienced persistent head tossing and resistance to pressure on her nose. Coco, a 20-year-old thoroughbred mare, was probably kicked by a pasturemate three months before she presented for examination. She had a small fracture to her right frontal bone.

Patient evaluation

Coco showed mild pain and reacted to pressure on her nose, where a halter or noseband might be placed. She also felt pressure on her right side. Radiographs revealed that there was a bony callus, which is thickened bone as part of normal fracture healing. It was located on either side a small frontal fracture. The radiolucent (dark line) remained at the fracture site. This indicates that the fractured bone may not have fully healed. Coco’s discomfort after being haltered or bribed could be explained by a slight bony instability.

A radiograph showing incomplete fracture healing three months after injury.


To aid in the healing of Coco’s fractures and to relieve her discomfort, shockwave therapy was introduced. Three treatments were done at intervals of one to two weeks. Each treatment was preceded by a light sedation.


Coco was very responsive to shockwave therapy and became less sensitive to pressure on her nose and fracture site. The radiographs that were taken after the treatment confirmed the ongoing healing of fractures. The bony callus became slightly less prominent and the fracture line was becoming more subtle.

A radiograph showing ongoing healing of fractures following three shockwave treatments. Taken one month after the previous radiograph

Coco has made a complete return to her career in polo pony. According to her riders, she is still as fiery and energetic as ever.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!