Studies have shown that acupuncture can help people who have plantar fasciitis, even if their symptoms have failed to respond to the typical conventional treatments. In one study, 82% of the patients reported greater than 50% improvement in pain reduction, with some of those patients having complete resolution of symptoms.
What is plantar fasciitis? It is one of the most common causes of heel pain, and is an inflammation of the plantar fascia. The tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes is called the plantar fascia, and can be injured by running, and standing and walking on hard surfaces. It is also common among those who are overweight, those with diabetes, as well as those who have arthritis. Plantar fasciitis is usually brought on by overuse, but can also be brought on by acute trauma, as well as by wearing shoes with poor arch support.
Symptoms of plantar fasciitis can be seen in either one or both feet, and can include sharp pain on the bottom of the foot, stiffness, heel pain that is worse with the first steps after periods of inactivity or sleeping, heel pain after exercise, and mild swelling in the heel.
One treatment that your doctor might recommend is wearing a night splint that is fitted to your calf and foot. During the day, many find relief from orthotics which helps distribute pressure to your feet more evenly.
Another typical recommendation for those suffering from plantar fasciitis is to decrease activities that can aggravate the condition, such as high impact exercise.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises that stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, and strengthen the lower leg muscles. People may also find relief from ultrasound treatments, deep-friction massage, and other physical therapy modalities.
If the above treatments fail to help, your doctor may suggest corticosteroid injections into the plantar fascia, which can provide temporary relief.
Although not commonly done, surgery is sometimes performed to detach the plantar fascia from the heel bone. Surgery is usually done only for those who have severe pain and who have not found relief from any other treatment, because the surgery can weaken the arch in your foot.
If you suffer from the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment option, even if you have not responded to the typical conventional treatment. Acupuncture can provide significant pain reduction as well as an improvement in function for those with plantar fasciitis.
Copyright 2010 by Jeri Petz, MSOM, L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM), Dipl. OM (NCCAOM)
Jade Acupuncture Clinic Ltd.