If you’re plagued by nagging pains or injuries that just won’t heal, Dr. James Baird of Family Foot & Ankle Specialists has two revolutionary new treatments that can help you get back on your feet. His brand-new Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT), and ultrasound-guided injections are offering many patients lasting relief from common podiatric ailments–and in a fraction of the time required by other treatments.
Dr. Baird decided to invest in the EPAT technology after learning of its compelling results when used to treat professional athletes. He’s had the machine since January, and he says the early results have been fantastic. In keeping with his commitment to offering state-of-the-art technologies, Dr. Baird is one of only a handful of doctors in Chicagoland to offer the treatment. “There’s one downtown, but we’re the first out here.”
Barrington resident Jenn Wondrasek was among the first to receive EPAT treatment at Family Foot & Ankle Specialists. An active mom, Jenn has battled foot and ankle issues for many years. “She originally broke a bone in her foot and strained her Posterior Tibial tendon,” Dr. Baird explains.
Jenn’s road to recovery was longer than she hoped. “We treated the fracture with immobilization, but she was still having a lot of pain,” Dr. Baird says. After trying physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, wearing a boot, resting, and ultrasound, Jenn was only somewhat better. Dr. Baird was hopeful that EPAT would be the way to lasting relief for Jenn–and for many other patients with similar injuries.
If you’re anything like me, you want to know exactly how these treatments work before you agree to try them. First, Dr. Baird uses ultrasound to target the injury site.
“The ultrasound shows where her tendon comes across, where swelling has developed at the attachment, and I can now measure to know exactly the area of the injury,” Dr. Baird says. “This is something we would use before injection therapies, or before EPAT or Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT – another treatment offered by Family Foot & Ankle Specialists), to really pinpoint the treatment area.”
“The machine has different-sized apertures, and the smallest provide really direct, acupuncture-like pulses. The larger ones provide less intense pulses–and we let the patient’s tolerance guide the intensity,” Dr. Baird explains.
“We apply coupling gel to the area of pain, select the appropriate frequency, and move the applicator back and forth over the area of injury in a circular motion,” Dr. Baird says. “The process itself creates a little natural anesthesia, so it’s less painful as we progress. We want a pain intensity of 7 out of 10 for it to be most effective.” The treatment delivers 3000 pulses–acoustic pressure waves–per treatment. This revascularizes, or returns circulation to, the injured area–which leads to repair.
“It’s a little painful when you do it, but not bad at all,” Jenn says. (I had the privilege of attending her treatment for this photo shoot, and, unless she was really good at hiding it, she didn’t seem to be in pain.)
The course of treatment for EPAT is typically three sessions, and the relief is often long-lasting, with over 80% of patients reporting significant long-term pain reduction. (See CuraMedix for further information.) “You actually leave the office feeling better. It helps the body kick start its own natural healing process,”Dr. Baird says.
Jenn was pleasantly surprised with the results of her treatment. “It’s really dramatically better. When Dr. Baird suggested it, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, right. That’ll help.’ But it was so effective, right away,” Jenn says. “I felt much better for a couple of days. Then I came back a week later for a second treatment, and the relief lasted even longer. After the third one, I felt almost completely better.”
After aggravating the injury during another boot camp (and yes, Jenn does see the pattern here), she elected to have one additional treatment prior to a ski trip, and she’s glad she did. “It got me through skiing with no problems,” Jenn says. “I couldn’t run, I couldn’t do boot camp, or anything. Now I’m back to spin, skiing, and a modified boot camp,” Jenn says. “I’ve done so many things with no improvement, and this has really made a difference.”
Dr. Baird also notes that EPAT therapy breaks the typical injury protocol. “That’s a really great thing about this. Normally, when we have an injury, we’re icing and taking anti-inflammatories,” Dr. Baird says. “But when you’re being treated with EPAT, your orders are no drugs and no icing–no anti-inflammatories. All you have to do is stretch and wear support.”
Brian Niven, owner of CrossFit Barrington, also benefitted from Dr. Baird’s EPAT treatment. After rupturing, and having surgery on, his left Achilles tendon, he began overusing his right side. This overuse stressed his right achilles tendon.
In the fall of 2012, Dr. Baird used a series of EPAT treatments to help Brian. “It was no more uncomfortable than a deep tissue massage, and I felt relief right away,” Brian says. “My injury didn’t allow me to perform at my peak. Dr. Baird helped me to get back to where I knew I should be–and I haven’t had any issues since.”
Dr. Baird and his team would welcome the opportunity to talk with you further about these, and other treatments offered by Family Foot & Ankle Specialists. Please feel free to contact the office; Connie would be happy to schedule an appointment or answer any questions you may have. You can reach the office by calling (847) 381.5011.
Family Foot & Ankle Specialists
Dr. Baird Foot & Ankle is also a featured member of our Barrington Online Marketplace here at 365Barrington.com. CLICK HERE to read more about the ways Dr. Baird and his team go above and beyond to help patients with all of their foot care needs right here in Barrington.
***All in-office photos courtesy of photographer, Liz Benedetto of Elizabeth-Ashby.com.***