How To Treat Shoulder Pain in a Horse

Best Tips to Treat Shoulder Pain in a Horse

Before you jump into a treatment routine to help your horse overcome his shoulder pain, it’s important to understand what’s causing the pain, and what type of injury it could be. Then, along with regular Leg Saver therapy, there are several other natural methods you can try.

How to Accurately Diagnose Shoulder Pain in a Horse

Shoulder pain in horses is often misdiagnosed as such due to the similarity of symptoms. For example, severe pain in the foot-pastern-ankle area can be misinterpreted as shoulder pain due to restricted forward leg movement; or rather, a shortening of the stride. In turn, shoulder muscles will tense involuntarily.

Look for these signs of true shoulder pain:

  1. Swelling of the shoulder joint
  2. Pain under pressure on the shoulder area
  3. The horse swings his leg in an arc rather than straight up and forwards
  4. Restricted leg movement and unfinished strides

Types of Shoulder Pain in a Horse

Shoulder dysplasia (where the socket is too shallow for the ball of the joint) can lead to dislocations, and arthritis in more severe cases. Arthritis can also develop from bone disease in cases of abnormality between the bone and cartilage. Cysts will form and the cartilage becomes brittle, eventually resulting in arthritis. Soft tissue injury is another common source of pain for horses.

How to Treat Shoulder Pain

Cold and Heat Treatments

Cold packs should only be used in cases of obvious heat and inflammation of the shoulder. They can also be used after exercise. Warm up the area with a heat treatment prior to exercise and periodically throughout the day.

Gentle Stretching

Once the initial inflammatory stage is over, start with a heat treatment and then move on to light stretching exercises. They can also be done as a warm-up before more strenuous exercise is planned.

Leg Saver Ting Point Therapy

Our electro therapy treats inflammation at a cellular level, effectively shortening healing time.


That is one of the most important things to remember: when treating shoulder pain, as with all injuries, it’s important to monitor your horse closely. If you are familiar with what “normal” looks like for them, you will be able to anticipate injury sooner and apply healing methods quicker. If you have any questions regarding how Leg Saver therapy can help treat your horse’s shoulder pain, please don’t hesitate to contact us!


6 comments on “How To Treat Shoulder Pain in a Horse

  1. Lynne rodgers on

    The next day after a short trailer ride 35 miles round trip my 6 yr old started acting tender on his front end. Front legs pushed out a bit but not rocked back on heels. Bute helps movement but very stiff short stops and deliberate on the left. No swelling detected but some tenderness when mid shoulder area is pushed on. Vet checked- feet are ok and legs all seem normal and sound. Will call chiro out if not better in 10 days on bute? Appetite normal just does not want to move. I massage the area daily. What else can or should be done at this point. I know he’s hurting .

    • Legsaver on

      I would treat the hooves. Vets know nothing about the hoof. Check with a good farrier and have him or her examine her. The hooves are very difficult to diagnose for anyone particularly vets. I would treat the hooves for a couple of hours a day with the Leg Saver and see if it improves. I think it will. We have others horses with the same history and treating the hooves fixed the problem. Let us know where you are located and we will see if we have someone in your area that can treat your horses hooves.

      Regards Gary

      • Vasiliki Harvey on

        As an equine vet, I have saved many horses from farriers who thought they knew more about the hoof than veterinarians. Some general practitioners may not be as up-to-date on hoof biomechanics and what modern treatments and farriery options we have. But, I can name many, MANY veterinarians who are specialists in equine hoof science and care. So I think your blanket statement, “Vets know nothing about the hoof” is in error.

        Yours, Dr. Harvey

        • Legsaver on

          Yes, that may be the case, Dr. Harvey, but it’s not surprising that Gary feels this way since he’s usually called in when everything/one else has failed to fix the problem. We’ll try to avoid blanket statements in the future. A little contextualizing won’t hurt anyone. Thanks for chimining in!

  2. Susan James on

    Thank you for your blog. We just got a 20 year old Tennessee walker gelding. After an exam it was discovered that he probably has arthritis in his shoulders. The vet told us that it would be dangerous to ride him as he might go down while one was on him. Isn’t there anything that can strengthen and repair the joints. I have him on MSM and Camelina oil. He has had a shot of pentosan. He is not over weight but I have him on Timothy grass no grain or other supplements. Feet look good but farrier is coming out to trim. We are more trail riders than anything else. what are your thoughts in general? Thanks Susan

    • Legsaver on

      The shoulder should be treated with the Leg Saver to kill the arthritis. It can be very successful at relieving the pain. Feel free to call Gary on WhatsApp: +1-778-874-1354 for further questions. He has done a number of these in all types of horses and have found that it is mostly Bursitis & not arthritis. Been 100 % successful at removing the pain from the should with a couple of treatments. It does not return. This is a really good treatment for the shoulders. In 20 years I have never found arthritis in a horse’s shoulder.

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