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.