Your Guide to EPAT Therapy

There was a time when injuries that didn’t respond to ice, rest, braces, or orthotics left you with one option — surgery. Then, in 2005, the FDA approved Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT). 

Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT) therapy is a type of ESWT. The results have been astonishing. It’s one of the most successful treatments that has ever existed for any type of illness or injury.

What is EPAT?

EPAT therapy uses no needles or other sharp instruments. The only thing that will penetrate your body is sound waves. The EPAT device uses high-energy sound waves set to specific frequencies. These aren’t the type of sound waves that come from your stereo. Think of these sound waves as shock waves. 

These shock waves stimulate healing by improving blood circulation in the treated area. The healing process then is what relieves your pain through getting the necessary nutrients needed to the injury for healing. 

What Is EPAT Used To Heal?

EPAT therapy can heal many types of orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions. It’s also effective at dealing with chronic pain. 

Though originally approved to treat plantar fasciitis, doctors at the world-famous Mayo Clinic have found many other uses for shock wave therapy, including other types of foot and ankle pain.

Other doctors have expanded the treatments to other parts of the body and found great results as well. The maker of the EPAT devices reports doctors are using EPAT therapy to treat:

  • Overuse injuries
  • Shin splints
  • Stress fractures
  • Muscular pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Heel pain
  • Tendon pain

Unlike more invasive treatments such as surgery, EPAT therapy has the advantages of not needing anesthesia, having no infection risks, leaving no scarring, being cost-effective, and having no downtime.

For many people, the most important benefit is no downtime. Many cannot take long periods of time off of work. Recuperating from surgery costs you money. Recovering from surgery reduces your quality of life. EPAT therapy solves these problems. For athletes, EPAT therapy can be the difference between season-ending surgery and missing only a few games.

This is all good news, but the better news is that doctors are constantly finding new applications for EPAT therapy. If you’ve been enduring foot pain or heel pain and have found no relief, it’s a good idea to contact the Foot & Ankle Specialists of Central Pennsylvania today.

EPAT shockwave therapy explained

How Does EPAT Therapy Work?

The microtrauma caused by the shock waves triggers inflammation in the form of cytokines and chemokines. You may think, isn’t inflammation bad for you? Unnecessary inflammation, such as an allergic reaction, is bad. But inflammation is also the body’s natural way of healing. EPAT therapy stimulates this natural healing. That’s especially good since there’s no need for drugs or harsh chemicals.

You may wonder how long you have to be bombarded by these shock waves. The good news is the treatments only require 10–15 minutes of your time. But you will usually have to return at least three times on a weekly basis. Some patients may need a couple of extra treatments.

While you may have some temporary improvement immediately after the treatment, it usually takes around four weeks after the last treatment before permanent improvement begins. EPAT therapy completely cures most patients within 8–12 weeks after the last treatment.   

Am I a Candidate for EPAT Therapy?

If you suffer from an injury, EPAT therapy can speed up your recovery process. If you have a chronic injury, that isn’t responding to other treatment options, you need to try EPAT therapy. Almost everyone with these conditions is a good candidate.

So, who’s not a good candidate for EPAT therapy? If you are pregnant, have an internal device such as a pacemaker, or you have cancer, EPAT therapy probably isn’t for you. 

Some doctors avoid using EPAT therapy on patients that are on blood thinners. You should discuss whether EPAT is a good option for you when you meet with your expert practitioner at the Foot & Ankle Specialists of Central Pennsylvania.

Person getting EPAT therapy for heel pain

Is EPAT Effective?

EPAT therapy is 91% effective to at least some degree. Patient satisfaction is over 80% with EPAT therapy. You’ll have a difficult time finding a treatment for any condition that has such a high rate of satisfaction.

Medical studies use conservative language. Testimonials from actual doctors and patients can shed more light on the effectiveness of EPAT therapy. Doctors using EPAT therapy call the results amazing. They rave about the results of this stunning technology. Patients talk about having 90% improvement after just a few sessions. One patient had been trying to find relief for years and nothing worked until they tried EPAT therapy.

Are There Any Risks?

There are risks with anything. But, you have a higher risk of suffering an injury on the car ride to the clinic than having a severe side effect from EPAT therapy. There are rarely any side effects and there is no downtime. The only known side effect is that, sometimes, patients have mentioned minor discomfort for a few days after the treatment. 

Are You Ready to Give EPAT Therapy a Chance?

So, you’ve tried ice, rest, braces, orthotics, and even therapeutic exercises. These haven’t ended your pain. 

You’ve taken aspirin or other over-the-counter painkillers. These painkillers aren’t good options for long-term relief. And they do not heal the underlying cause of the pain. Maybe you have tried stronger prescription pain killers. Maybe you have even tried opioids. You certainly shouldn’t use these addictive painkillers for long-term relief.

You could try surgery, but that’s going to require healing from the surgery itself. That takes time. Maybe you don’t have time to take off work. You don’t want to be down for any length of time. Before 2005, surgery would have been your only long-term solution.

We’re talking about your feet, your heels, your ankles. You cannot walk without these. Your quality of life drops considerably when you can’t walk without pain.

Now, we have EPAT therapy. With a 91% success rate and over 80% patient satisfaction, what are you waiting for? Contact the Foot & Ankle Specialists of Central Pennsylvania today. You can book an appointment online. Or you can call us at (717) 620-8225. The quicker you come to see us, the quicker your foot pain, heel pain, or ankle pain ends.