Foot and ankle pain can put you on the sidelines in life, and treating heel pain is often time-consuming and costly.
Surgery is always an option, but most of us don't have the ability to recover for the recommended six to eight weeks after the procedure. Nevermind the bill.
Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal pulse active technology (EPAT), is a safe, effective, and non-surgical treatment for various soft-tissue problems including plantar fasciitis.
Whether the issue is chronic or acute, EPAT is a great alternative to surgery. Research published in the National Library of Medicine compared the effects of extracorporeal shockwave therapy to the effects of steroid injections and platelet-rich plasma treatments.
If you suffer from foot pain, you may be a candidate for EPAT. Keep reading to learn more about this revolutionary treatment.
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
By using ranges and frequencies of pressure waves, the EPAT stimulates the body's natural healing processes. These pressure waves disrupt the tissues in the area of pain. And while disrupting the area that is causing you pain sounds counterproductive, it actually tricks the body into responding to the aggravation of the tissue; thus, cellular repair is activated and supercharged. Any healing that is already occurring may be sped up. For more chronic cases, healing is jump-started.
Additionally, blood flow to the area is increased. Blood brings oxygen and other healing factors to the cells that need it most.
Am I a Candidate for EPAT?
Shockwave therapy is suitable for those suffering from:
- plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- sports injuries
- soft tissue injuries
Additionally, non-invasive treatments like shockwave and laser pain therapy are perfectly suited for those who lead busy lives. Many patients avoid seeking treatment out of fear that their condition will require surgery; surgery they don't have the time or money for. Those who are dislike needles and painful injections can find relief without getting poked, too.EPAT can have a positive effect and improve your healing even if your condition is chronic. It doesn't matter if you've suffered from your pain for days, weeks, or even years.
People who have diabetes or neuropathy and those who are pregnant are not eligible for EPAT. An x-ray should be taken prior to starting treatment to rule out a fracture, as shockwave therapy is not effective on injuries of the bone.
How Often Should I Get Shockwave Treatments?
For plantar fasciitis, several sessions spaced out over the course of several weeks is the standard treatment protocol. Many patients report decreased pain after the first visit.
Is There Pain or a Recovery Period After EPAT?
Shockwave therapy is associated with slight discomfort during treatment; however, patients compare the feeling to being snapped with a rubber band. At Freeland Foot and Ankle, we set the EPAT device to a level that is compatible with your pain tolerance. The technician performing the treatment will also check periodically to make sure you are tolerating the shockwaves well. Depending on the are being treated, the sessions last anywhere around fifteen minutes.
After your EPAT treatment, you are free to put your shoes and socks back on and walk out the door. You can go to the gym or enjoy a nice run or walk that same day. Paired with stretching, proper support (like custom orthotics), and good shoes, EPAT can be a great tool to help you stay active while decreasing pain.