If you have plantar fasciitis, you know that this painful condition can be hard to manage. Plantar fasciitis develops when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue on the bottom of your foot, is strained and develops small tears.
This causes inflammation in your plantar fascia, making it tighten when you’re at rest. As a result, the other tissues pull, triggering pain in your foot and heel.
Because your plantar fascia provides support to the arches of your feet, this condition can be debilitating. Other symptoms include swelling, redness, and burning in the heel and foot, which can worsen with walking, running, or standing.
People with tight calf muscles, regularly run long distances, have a job that involves extended periods of standing, and are overweight or obese have a greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis; wearing unsupportive, uncomfortable shoes can add to your risk.
Every year, millions of Americans are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. That’s why at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers, we offer our patients in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, the best in plantar fasciitis treatment.
Our providers use extracorporeal pulse activation technology (EPAT) to effectively heal and manage pain from plantar fasciitis. If you don’t know what EPAT is, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.
Our team put together this helpful guide so you have everything you need to understand EPAT and what to expect from FDA-approved EPAT treatments for plantar fasciitis.
How EPAT treatments work
EPAT uses acoustic (sound) waves to treat musculoskeletal conditions like plantar fasciitis. For plantar fasciitis, these pressure waves are directed into the plantar fascia tissue to create an area of “microtrauma.”
This microtrauma triggers your body’s natural healing responses, like increasing blood flow and boosting your natural production of anti-inflammatory factors. This leads to a faster regeneration of the damaged plantar fascia tissue, helping you heal while minimizing your pain.
What to expect at an EPAT treatment session
Your Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers provider uses a hand-held applicator to send a series of pulses of acoustic waves into the plantar fascia. These waves are therapeutic-level in intensity, so they’re well tolerated.
You can expect to return to your daily activities immediately because, for most patients, no downtime is required after an EPAT session. Your provider will recommend any necessary adjustments, and you should follow your body’s signals.
Sessions only take about 15 minutes, and most patients notice improvement after their first session. You’ll likely need a few sessions to get the best results, and optimal benefits develop about 8-12 weeks after your last session.
How to get EPAT for plantar fasciitis
Regardless of treatment method, the first step in addressing plantar fasciitis is an accurate diagnosis of your condition from a licensed medical professional, like one of our providers at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers.
Your provider takes you through a complete medical evaluation, which may include imaging studies, to diagnose your plantar fasciitis. Most patients with plantar fasciitis are good candidates for EPAT, but it’s not recommended for anyone taking blood thinners or who has cancer.
Based on your symptoms and their severity, your provider develops a customized treatment plan for your plantar fasciitis. We usually like to start with at-home treatments, such as applying ice packs, wearing supportive shoes, and taking anti-inflammatory medication.
When plantar fasciitis is more severe, or the at-home treatments don’t improve your condition, treatments like EPAT, platelet-rich plasma injections, stem cell injections, or a combination of these are recommended.
If you’d like to learn more about EPAT treatment for plantar fasciitis, don’t hesitate to set up a consultation. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at the Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers office nearest you.