Plantar fasciitis is the irritation and inflammation of the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. It is a common cause of heel pain and it affects various athletes and active people. If you have plantar fasciitis, you may have tried different kinds of remedies. But using acupuncture for plantar fasciitis can help you overcome the pain and recover quickly.
Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles in various areas of the body which are commonly called acupuncture points. According to Acupuncture in Medicine journal, this type of therapy is effective in the treatment of patients with severe heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis. This drug-free treatment promotes a natural process of self healing. The placement of the needles at the acupuncture points clears energy blockages and enhances the normal flow of qi throughout the body. Here some of the points and procedures used by acupuncturists to treat this condition.
Foot and Ankle
A large number of the points used to treat plantar fasciitis are localized, they can be found on the foot and the ankle. On an individual basis, an acupuncturist can determine the points that are appropriate after a detailed evaluation. Very often the points used include the Kidney 3 and the Bladder 60 points which can be found between the Achilles tendon and ankle bones. In addition, the Kidney 6 and the Bladder 62 points located under the ankle bones on both sides are used to treat plantar fasciitis. The acupuncturist may also palpate the sole of the foot and place needles in areas that are very tender.
Plantar fasciitis is usually associated with tightness in the calf muscles. This tightness will place more pressure on the plantar fascia of the foot which may lead to plantar fasciitis. Thus, the acupuncturist could needle points in the lower leg to reduce the tightness in the muscles. These points can be found within the curved portion of the calf muscles at the posterior section of your lower leg.
Points that Benefit the Qi, Blood and Liver
The acupuncturist will provide a diagnostic pattern for every patient after carrying out a thorough examination. This is very similar to the type of diagnosis provided in orthodox medicine. Very often, the pattern points recommended for each individual may not be near the actual area where the pain is severe. The acupuncturist may also identify points that benefit the qi, blood, and organs like the kidney and liver. Although internal organ imbalances are not direct causative factors of plantar fasciitis, liver imbalances may be found in the patients with this condition. These imbalances can make the tendons more susceptible to repetitive stress injuries.
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Most acupuncturists will schedule treatment for plantar fasciitis at least twice in a week for 4 weeks. Each appointment lasts for a little over one hour. Examination and placement of needles will usually take about 45 minutes while the needles will be kept in place for another 20 minutes. While treating plantar fasciitis, electrical stimulation may be connected to the needles.
Studies have shown that combining traditional acupuncture with electro-acupuncture on the affected foot can produce faster relief from pain. It could also reduce the total number of appointments required before full recovery. Immediately after taking off the needles, most acupuncturists will perform a quick massage of the affected foot and muscles. Then the patient will receive instruction on how to do a stretching routine at home which will be repeated a couple of times daily, to speed up recovery.