Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT) is a non-invasive treatment approved by the FDA to treat acute or chronic musculoskeletal pain associated with conditions such as plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, or Achilles tendinitis. If you are considering EPAT, contact an experienced podiatrist to determine if it is the right choice for you.
Good Candidates for EPAT
Heel pain is a common reason people see a podiatrist. It can often be so severe, it interferes with daily activity making it difficult to stand or walk. Treatments such as orthotics, cortisone injections, or anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended; however, they may not prove effective.
Another option to consider for heel pain is EPAT. EPAT is recommended as initial therapy for acute injuries since it can speed recovery and often allow the person to return to their normal activities. It is also an option for those with chronic injuries that do not respond to other therapy treatments or for patients who want to avoid downtime commonly associated with different treatments.
How EPAT Works
EPAT uses sound waves to stimulate the body's nervous system and promote healing by increasing metabolism and blood flow. It is an effective option for treating a variety of conditions and has very few side effects.
Many patients report feeling the benefits of EPAT after only three sessions. For some patients, improvement of symptoms occurs immediately following treatment, while for others, it can take four weeks to experience relief. A full course of treatment can take 12 weeks, and 80% of patients treated with EPAT report they had substantial improvement and relief of pain.
Each person’s condition is unique, and the longer a patient has experienced pain, the more EPAT treatments may be needed. If EPAT is effective for your specific condition, you may be able to avoid surgery.
Does EPAT Hurt?
EPAT delivers sound waves through a device placed on the skin over the area where you are experiencing pain. The treatment is well tolerated by most patients and will only cause minor discomfort. To administer EPAT, a cooling gel is first applied to the skin over the area to be treated. Anesthesia or nerve blocks are not typically needed. A series of pulses will be administered, and depending on your tolerance, the pulses will be increased to a therapeutic level. An EPAT session typically takes 10 to 15 minutes, making it easy to fit into a busy day. Treatments are spaced about a week apart.
Unlike other types of therapies, EPAT does not require downtime. You can return to regular activities within 24 to 48 hours after an EPAT session and will not be restricted from bearing weight on the foot being treated.
Like with any type of treatment or procedure, there are possible side effects with EPAT, although they are typically minor. Some of the side effects of EPAT may include swelling, bruising, and numbness.
Is EPAT Covered by My Insurance?
Before beginning treatment, check with your insurance company to find out if EPAT is covered by your plan. Most insurance companies do not pay for EPAT, but there are other payment options to consider. These include getting reimbursed for EPAT by using a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
EPAT is not only a less invasive option, it can also be more cost-effective when you consider the high price of surgery. The costs associated with surgery can often be significant, and recovery is often needed following the procedure, adding to the cost. Your podiatrist can discuss the costs and benefits of EPAT to determine if it is the right treatment option for you.
Contact Our Austin Office Today
Contact our experienced podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists to find out if you are a candidate for EPAT. We can provide various advanced treatment options for your condition based on your individual needs. To schedule an appointment, contact us online, or call our office at 512-328-8900.