Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis
> Pain in heel
> Can affect a wide spectrum of people
> Treatment involves increasing circulation, flexibility and strength
> Acupuncture increases circulation
> Research has shown acupuncture in addition to conventional treatments to be more effective than only conventional treatments
> At home treatment includes daily stretches and warm epsom salt foot baths
> Decrease activity that aggravates condition
Acupuncture helps resolve plantar fasciitis
Recently, I have seen an influx of patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. I will share some tips for treating this pesky repetitive strain injury and how acupuncture can help. The plantar fascia connects from the toes to the heel and provides support and cushioning to the foot, absorbing shock. Most people suffering from plantar fasciitis feel pain in their heel. There are many factors that contribute to plantar fasciitis and it may affect a wide spectrum of people including, highly active people to inactive people, menopause-aged women to growing teenagers. The goals of treatment are to increase circulation to the area to encourage healing, increase flexibility of the surrounding leg muscles and increase the strength of the foot.
Acupuncture helps increase circulation throughout the body and in treatments of plantar fasciitis, it can help to provide circulation to the area of the heel. In the Master Tung acupuncture treatments performed at Red Panda Acupuncture, I use distal points, this means not treating where the pain is but in areas that relate to the painful area. This treatment is very effective. The points for this condition are usually located on the hands and legs but are also selected based off of the individual patient. In research studies, acupuncture in addition to conventional treatments have been shown to significantly reduce foot pain and be a more effective treatment than conventional treatments alone for plantar fasciitis (1). The duration of treatment depends on how long you have had the condition (the longer you’ve had it the longer treatment takes) and your age and overall condition (young and healthy people usually heal faster). In the beginning, I usually recommend two to four weeks of twice a week visits depending on the patient’s condition and then reassess after that time period.
In addition to acupuncture, I recommend patients perform daily stretches and exercises that will increase flexibility and strengthen the foot, allowing for increased circulation and support. Here is a video on foot stretches that should be done daily.
Calf stretches should also be done daily. Exercises such as scrunching a towel placed on the ground with your foot muscles are also recommended. Self massage of the sole of your foot with either your hands or a tennis ball should also be done daily. These stretches and exercises should feel good, if they cause pain do a gentler version or discontinue use. Daily warm foot baths with Epsom salt are also recommended to increase circulation. Walking barefoot as much as possible is also encouraged in order to stretch and strengthen the foot. Another important part, as with most repetitive stress injuries, is to refrain from causing excess stress to the area. This means stopping running and other exercises that cause pain, allowing the area to heal. Recovery is much slower if the area continues to be aggravated.
If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, try acupuncture! Red Panda Acupuncture is located in Jenkintown, PA and open six days a week. You may schedule online or call us at (215) 867-0114.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Kearney DeFillipo L.Ac.
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