Plantar fasciitis: acupuncture for happy feet


2 million people each year are diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in the U.S.

Plantar fasciitis is one of the main causes of foot & heel pain, and happens when the connective tissues that support the bottom of the foot become inflamed.

It usually stems from repetitive use or overload.

While this type of heel pain walking is generally attributed to inflammation, it is also due to the natural degeneration of collagen that occurs with age, making the connective tissues weaker and more brittle.


In this article, we will talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can do to help you overcome plantar fasciitis.


Conventional approach: rest the foot & anti-inflammatories


Doctors will usually recommend to stop weight-bearing activities as much as possible, such as walking. This can be extremely frustrating for patients.


Physical therapy for plantar fasciitis that focuses on stretching and strengthening the plantar ligament may be recommended.


Special arch supports that provide cushioning can be helpful. Night splints are sometimes used to keep the foot and ankle stretched while asleep.


When the pain is too unbearable, doctors may give you steroid injections and other anti-inflammatory medications.


Steroid injections do carry some risks; about 10% of people treated this way for plantar fasciitis pain experience a rupture of the plantar tissues, which can lead to an even more severely chronic condition.


Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen (NSAIDS) on a regular basis can cause issues with the stomach lining and gastro-intestinal bleeding.



Acupuncture works !


In the clinic, the acupuncturist will often address your whole leg, as pain in the heel is often a symptom of some muscular tension in the calf area. We will use needles and moxibustion to loosen tissues and reduce inflammation.


One study compared patients treated with corticosteroid injections for plantar fasciitis and patients treated with acupuncture. 6 months later, the patients who had steroid shots reported a 76% effective rate, while the patients who had acupuncture reported a 97% effective rate.


At home care for heal & foot pain


Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is ver common, and presents with widespread aches, weakness, and tiredness. But it can also cause focal symptoms such as heel pain.


Foot soaks

They can be as simple as plain warm water, or with Epsom salt, or even with a Chinese medicinal herbal blend. Give yourself 10-15 minutes of warm soaking daily.


Moxa

Done first in the clinic preferably, moxa is the use of mugwort, a warming anti-inflammatory plant. It is known for reducing muscular and joint pain. At home, you can use moxa sticks or sitck-on cones to reduce heel pain. Careful, use at your own risk !



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