EPAT is an advanced technology, becoming more and more popular as a treatment option that can prevent the need for future surgery of certain conditions. EPAT is an acronym that stands for extracorporeal pulse activation treatment. The word extracorporeal when broken down, literally means outside of the body. Pulse refers to the way in which energy from EPAT is delivered into damaged tissue. The word activation is used, as this technology activates the acute inflammatory process in the body to stimulate healing.
EPAT delivers energy, in the form of pressure waves, into the body to re-activate the healing process. This treatment is performed in the office and requires no anesthesia. It can be uncomfortable, but is not painful, and three short treatments are recommended for optimum results. The machine used for EPAT therapy consists of controls and a handheld probe through which the pressure waves are transmitted with the help of coupling gel.
EPAT is literally used to cause inflammation of damaged tissue and it is for this reason that post-treatment care prohibits the use of anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, motrin or meloxicam. You may be wondering why in the world we would want to cause inflammation when a patient has a painful condition already. What is important to understand is that there are two main types of inflammation in the body - acute and chronic. Chronic inflammation (due to a long-standing condition) does inhibit appropriate healing of damaged tissues. Acute inflammation, however, serves an important role in repairing damaged tissue within the body. It is not so much that we are introducing inflammation where it was not already present. Rather, EPAT converts chronic inflammation to the acute, reparative inflammation necessary to heal from a condition. It's almost like hitting a reset button on the body's healing process.
The types of conditions that EPAT can be used to treat are primarily musculoskeletal. In terms of podiatry, its use is best applied in conditions of long-standing plantar fasciitis, tendonitis or capsulitis. All of these conditions involve ligament or tendon pathology. EPAT is not used in conditions related to the bone, such as fractures or apophysitis. It is also not recommended in patients with malignancy or deep vein thrombosis.
In too many instances, a painful chronic condition can linger and cause pain months or even years after its initial onset. If other conservative measures have not been successful in reducing pain in a foot condition, EPAT is a wonderful option to consider before discussing surgery for the recommended conditions. Call and make an appointment today with Prairie Path Foot & Ankle Clinic if you have been suffering with a painful foot condition and we can discuss whether EPAT is an appropriate recommendation for you!