Avoid Surgery for Achilles Tendon Injury!
The Achilles tendon (AT) is the most powerful tendon in the human body and with this power comes frequent injuries. Patients often complain of a sharp pain at the back of the heel when walking up and down stairs and whenever they stretch the back of the their leg. Although the Achilles is very strong, it does have an area of decreased blood supply which is prone to ruptures. Acute ruptures of the achilles tendon usually occur in 40 year old males who try to play their former high school sport (e.g. basketball, football, tennis). As adults we tend to lose flexibility in our achilles tendon and therefore high impact activities cause enormous strain on the tendon leading to injury. This acute injury over time can morph into chronic achilles tendon pain and insertional tendonitis in the future.
The conservative treatments of achilles tendon pain consists of stretching/physical therapy, rest, ice, compression, elevation, anti-inflammatory pills, pain medication, heel lifts, orthotics, night splints, a walking boot, and sometimes steroid injections. These methods can and will help most individuals but sometimes the AT pain is very persistent. When the pain is persistent for 3-6 months after initial treatment both the patient and the physician should be looking for an alternative treatment method. Regenerative therapies, which are utilized every day at Advanced Podiatry, is something which is considered by our patients quite frequently due to its simplicity and non-invasive characteristics. The use of extra corporeal pulse activation treatment is a go to technology for pesky, persistent, heel pain and delivers impeccable results for our patients in a non-invasive way.
Extra corporeal pulse activation treatment or EPAT for short, is a technology that utilizes pulses of energy to create energy waves through the skin targeting damaged areas of the body. When the waves hit the damaged tissue it initiates a cascade of healing processes that are natural to the body. New blood vessels and increased amounts of healing cells flood the area of damaged tissue, thus resulting in quicker healing and improved symptoms. The chronic nature of achilles tendon pain can be a taxing experience on the body and therefore the body sometimes becomes complacent to the pain and stops trying to heal the area. The shock wave reactivates the bodies healing potential by creating micro-trauma to the site thus resulting in regenerative healing.
The procedure overall is quite simple. The patient is comfortably seated in an exam chair and the EPAT wand is applied to the insertion of the Achilles tendon. We then deliver approximately 2000 shockwaves to the area to create the desired effect of increased metabolism and increased healing potential. The patient does not require any anesthesia and the whole procedure takes approximately 15-20 minutes of time. The patient then walks away in a below knee boot to protect the tendon from over exertion. The patient will repeat this procedure up to 3 times a week for 1-2 weeks or until the desired result achieved. Most patients only need up to 3 treatments and then revert to the classic conservative methods as mentioned above.
EPAT is our go to technology for healing chronic Achilles tendon pain and we will continue to offer this modality to patients who are in need of something more aggressive than conservative therapy but not including surgery. Tailoring treatments to the patients desires and needs is at the top of our list at Advanced Podiatry and customer service will always be #1. Please make an appointment today to get rid of your Achilles tendon pain.
Dr. Jairo Cruz Jr