How EPAT Helps with Heel Pain and Other Painful Problems

Aug 11, 2020

We realize that our advanced treatments can sometimes sound a bit futuristic. Using lasers to treat pain and inflammation can certainly have that “sci-fi” feel, but so can something called “Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Treatment.”

Even calling it “EPAT” for short can make it sound like a friend of WALL-E, but we can assure you the technology of this treatment is very current – and often very effective for certain causes of foot and heel pain.

If you’d like to learn more about EPAT, you’re in the right place! But if you also happen to be looking for a solution to persistent pain, do not wait to contact us for an appointment. Whether EPAT or another route of treatment is best, you need to take the first step toward a solution!


What Does EPAT Do?

EPAT is a form of regenerative therapy, meaning it uses the body’s own natural processes to stimulate a healing response at the site of damaged tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, or muscles.

No drugs are used to tigger this response. Instead, EPAT uses high-pressure waves. When these waves are directed into the site of an injury, they can cause minor aggravation and very minor damage on a cellular level.

The idea of causing more damage, even on a microscopic level, might sound counter-intuitive. However, this type of disturbance causes the body to signal an increased healing response. This increases metabolism and blood flow to the area.

Such a response can help accelerate healing that is currently ongoing for your original condition. Additionally, in some cases, the body even “gives up” on treating some injuries over time, resulting in chronic pain or discomfort. The disruption from EPAT treatment can cause healing to begin again, and a lasting problem can start to resolve once more.

What Kinds of Conditions is EPAT Recommended For?

While we’ll always make a full examination before recommending any specific treatment measures, there are a few general situations when EPAT tends to be strongly considered:

  • Chronic pain. As previously noted, the body might benefit from a “kickstart” of the healing process in certain cases.
  • Stubborn pain. By this, we mean pain that has not responded well to more traditional forms of treatment, such as rest, stretching, or even orthotics.

A number of soft tissue injuries and conditions can develop these qualities in the feet and ankles. We might recommend EPAT for certain cases of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, other tendon issues, and neuromas, among other problems.

While EPAT treatment is primarily recommended for soft tissue injuries, there have been cases when it has been recommended for aiding the healing of bones as well.

In some cases, we might recommend a treatment such as EPAT in addition to other treatments. This would be especially true if EPAT could heal an injury itself, but the underlying cause of the injury itself still remains.

How EPAT Helps with Heel Pain and Other Painful Problems

What to Expect from a Course of EPAT

EPAT is typically not a “one-and-done” form of therapy. For best results, the healing response should be triggered at the site of pain several times over a certain period. For most patients, about 3-5 sessions scheduled out over several weeks tends to be most effective.

Although several sessions are usually necessary, the length of those sessions is quite short: about 10-15 minutes each.

During a session, we will elevate the area needing treatment and apply some contact gel to it. This helps ensure proper transmission of the pressure waves.

You might feel some minor discomfort during the session. Some describe it as someone snapping a rubber band against you repeatedly. If the discomfort is too much, please do not be afraid to tell us! We can reduce the intensity of the waves if necessary.

Once a session is over, you are free to continue with your day as normal! There is no aftercare required, nor do you have to do anything to prepare before a session.

Some soreness and/or swelling may happen in the days following a session. This is a normal part of the response, but please contact us if you experience any severe pain, bruising, or anything you feel may be out of the ordinary.

Young modern woman tying running shoes in urban park.

Get Relief from Lasting, Stubborn Foot, Ankle, or Heel Pain

We have many forms of treatment to help our patients, and the years of experience to guide our patients toward the right ones. But we can’t do anything unless you reach out to us!

Schedule an appointment at our Enumclaw office by calling (360) 761-1285. You may also request a telemedicine appointment where you meet with Dr. Bock if you would prefer to have an initial meeting and consultation over a video call.