I have been getting a lot of calls recently about plantar fascitis pain, especially from runners, so I thought I would answer a few commonly asked questions.
1) Can Acupuncture Treat Plantar Fascitis?
Yes. In my experience and from modern research exploring the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of plantar fascitis the results are very good. Some experiments have even shown good results just from needling one point on the wrist. Even so, I recommend a more well rounded treatment treating not only the local pain, but also any underlying imbalance in posture or constitution that could have led to the injury in the first place.
2) How many treatments does it take?
On average and dependent on severity it takes between 2 – 10 treatments and there may be some required future maintenance to prevent a future re-injury.
3) Does it hurt?
Acupuncture in general should not be painful. The needling sensation can be described closer to an ache, like a sore muscle, and often people feel nothing at all. However the bottoms of your feet are extremely sensitive and have been well programmed NOT to be poked by sharp objects. So the foot points are often painful however usually only during insertion and not for the rest of the treatment.
Direct needling of the foot is NOT necessary to get results so if this is a major concern for you, have no fear. However it may take longer to achieve the same results.
4) What else do you do other than acupuncture?
I also utilize deep tissue massage and gua sha (similar to the Graston Technique) on the foot to break up scar tissue, release tension and relieve pain.
5) What can I do at home to help?
– I often recommend using foot detox pads as they have been shown to effectively increase circulation in the foot. This increase in circulation is beneficial to speed healing.
– Soaking the feet (or your whole body) in a hot epsom salt bath to relieve tension, increase circulation and deliver magnesium to your muscles. You can also add peppermint essential oil to the water to help reduce inflammation and/or ginger root powder to increase circulation. If you are prone to athlete’s foot you can add tea tree oil as well.
– And finally you can use a golf ball under your foot to massage your arches.
I hope this information has been helpful. Please comment below, and share with your friends. If you have any questions do not hesitate to call or email me.
Some of the research:
Shi Ping Zhang, Tsui-Pik Yip, and Qiu-Shi Li. Acupuncture Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial with Six Months Follow-Up.Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative MedicineVolume 2011 (2011), Article ID 154108, 10 pages doi:10.1093/ecam/nep186
A Tillu1, and S Gupta. Effect of acupuncture treatment on heel pain due to plantar fasciitis. Acupuncture in Medicine 1998;16:66-68 doi:10.1136/aim.16.2.66