EPAT (Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology) therapy is a highly effective technology that has been used to accelerate the body’s natural healing process. The treatment itself is painless and non-invasive. It works by using acoustic sound waves to treat and heal internal pain due to injuries that might otherwise be slow to heal. EPAT therapy has been FDA approved and hasn’t been found to have any major side effects, other than minor discomfort that may be experienced while receiving the treatment. Some injuries that the EPAT therapy works well with are: plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and stress reactions.
There are many benefits that come along with choosing EPAT therapy as your form of treatment, one of them being that there are no incisions necessary. The fact that this treatment is completely non-invasive eliminates any possible complications that may occur as a result of surgery. Over 80% of people who opt for this therapy have experienced a successful outcome. Furthermore, this method is safe and cost-effective. While some patients report their pain goes away after the first treatment, it may take up to eight weeks or more, in some cases, for pain relief to begin.
EPAT works by the use of shock waves; they are essentially sound waves that operate at a high speed and pressure. Prior to the use of the treatment, a gel is applied to the area that is to be treated. This gel helps the shock waves reach maximum efficiency. When the actual treatment takes place, the applicator is moved over the affected area while the waves are simultaneously being released. When the therapy session is complete, the gel is wiped off, and the patient is able to be mobile immediately afterward. Each session lasts approximately 5-10 minutes per foot and usually 4-8 treatment sessions are necessary at weekly intervals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can EPAT Shockwave treatment help my heel pain?
Yes. Shockwave therapy is one treatment option for plantar fasciitis, commonly known as heel pain, a condition that causes heel and foot inflammation and pain. This type of injury is often caused by overworking the feet. Heel pain is most common in people that exercise often, individuals who are overweight, and people whose profession requires them to stand for long periods of time.
Who should consider this treatment?
Shockwave therapy should be considered for patients who have had unsuccessful treatment, whose heel pain has lasted for more than six months, and/or whose pain interrupts activities of daily living. Overall, shockwave therapy is a great option for heel pain.
How does it work?
This treatment uses the body's own ability to repair itself by instigating an inflammatory reponse. When the body’s natural repair mechanisms are triggered, tissue healing in the body is sped up. This leads to pain reduction. These mechanisms then begin working more effectively to repair damage done to the heel area.
What can I expect during my EPAT shockwave appointment?
In shockwave therapy, a device delivers shockwaves to the patient’s body. An ultrasound gel is applied to the area in order to allow maximum delivery of the therapy.
Can I continue to take ibuprofen?
No. Since this treatment triggers and inflammatory repsonse, it is important to remember NOT take take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibluprofen, Advil, Aleve, and aspirin. It's also important to discontiue these at least a week priot to your initial treatment.
Are there any side effects?
Discomfort issues can also be a side effect of treatment. Short-term issues can include minor pain during and after treatment, swelling of the heel, and discolored tissue. However, these side effects of shockwave therapy usually disappear after a few days. The fast recovery time of shockwave therapy makes it easy for patients to return to their daily routines.
How many treatments will I need?
This varies with each individual; however, typically those who've suffered for over a year will take a few more treatments. On averge, the typical patient can expect approximately four to eight treatments, again depending upon the severity of the pain, as well as, the amount of time suffering from the condition. It's also important to note that following our Podiatrists' instructions regarding proper shoes and support will work synergistically to aid in overall treatment success.
Are ther any conditions that would be contraindicated with this therapy?
Like most types of treatments, surgeries, and medications, shockwave therapy is not for everyone. Potential patients with heart conditions and people with pacemakers should not be considered for this technique. People on certain types of medications, usually medications affecting blood clotting, would be ineligible for shockwave therapy. Children and pregnant women should avoid this treatment option as well.
What is the recovery time?
Shockwave therapy eliminates the risk factors associated with surgery, such as the use of anesthetics, and is less invasive. Since this technique also helps improve the body’s natural healing techniques, recovery time should be shorter than surgical procedures.
Upon completion of the EPAT treatment plan, what can I do to prevent heel pain from recurring?
Wearing proper shoes is the first step to overall foot and ankle health. Additionally, ask our doctors about the correct orthotic device needed for your individual foot type. Our Podiatrists are specially trained to diagnose your foot type and dispense the best orthotic for you. In some case, a custom device will be recommeded, and our staff will cast your foot and work with a lab to make the orthotics.
Is this covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, it is not. Insurance companies consider this, as well as, many other treatments in medicine to be "experimental;" thereby defining this as a non-covered service. EPAT treatment pricing is $80 for one foot and $120 for two feet, due at each appointment.