Ankle injuries are frequent, with sprains affecting about 2 million Americans yearly. Considering how much we use our ankles — and how much force and strain they’re subjected to — it’s not surprising that many of us suffer from ankle pain and other symptoms.
Without proper medical care, even a simple sprain can have long-term consequences. In fact, repeated sprains can quickly lead to chronic ankle instability, a lifelong problem that makes you more prone to future injuries.
But there is good news: At Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, Joel S Segalman, FACFAS, FACFAO, and Stephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, offer advanced ankle treatments for patients, including EPAT, a state-of-the-art shockwave therapy for common sprains and other tendon injuries. Here’s how shockwave therapy could relieve your ankle symptoms.
EPAT stands for extracorporeal pulse activation technology, a complicated name for a relatively straightforward treatment. Like other types of shockwave therapy, EPAT uses measured energy waves to stimulate healing. Those waves noninvasively reach deeper layers of tissue, where tissue damage and inflammation are rooted.
Once the shockwave energy reaches the site of tissue damage, those waves create tiny areas of controlled damage that promote natural healing responses, including ramped-up blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients necessary for tissue recovery and regeneration.
Shockwaves also trigger chemical responses inside your tissues, including the release of special chemicals that assist in removing toxins and repairing injuries. Instead of just relieving the pain from your injury, EPAT goes a step farther and helps heal the damaged area to prevent future injuries that can lead to chronic ankle instability.
Before your treatment, the doctor places a special gel on your skin, similar to when you have an ultrasound. The gel improves contact between the handheld EPAT device and your skin, enabling the acoustic waves to penetrate more efficiently.
During treatment, the doctor passes the device over your skin, adjusting the energy flow to maximize benefits. Most treatments take 10-15 minutes per area, but your treatment time will depend on the extent of your injury and other factors.
Since EPAT works with your body’s natural inflammatory process, you should stop taking anti-inflammatory medicines, including over-the-counter products, before treatment. Most patients benefit from 3-5 weekly sessions, but we tailor your treatment plan to your specific medical needs and goals.
Once the natural healing process is triggered, it can take a few weeks to enjoy the full effect of treatment. You can expect to experience maximum benefits of your treatment between 8-12 weeks after your last session.
EPAT is a safe, effective treatment for anyone with ankle tendonitis or related injuries, including runners and other athletes. A recent study found that EPAT treatments provided meaningful relief for runners with lower-limb injuries, and nearly all study participants reported significant relief after just 4-5 treatments.
Of course, you don’t have to have a sports injury to benefit from EPAT. Achilles tendonitis, sprains from falls or accidents, and many other ankle injuries can benefit from shockwave therapy. To learn if EPAT is right for you, book an appointment online or over the phone at one of our Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists offices in Waterbury or Newtown, Connecticut.