Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot and connects the heel bone to the toes. This condition can make walking very painful and can take a long time – a year or more, to treat using Western medicine approaches. This article describes the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating plantar fasciitis.

The reviews of studies comparing acupuncture to standard Western medicine treatment “showed that acupuncture significantly reduced pain levels in patients with plantar fasciitis, as measured on the visual analogue scale and the Plantar Fasciitis Pain/Disability Scale. These benefits were noted between four and eight weeks of treatment, with no further significant reduction in pain beyond this duration.”

“The diagnosis of plantar fasciitis is clinical; most patients report heel pain that occurs after a period of foot rest, such as when sleeping or sitting. The pain is reduced after taking a few steps, but can get worse if the patient persists with ambulation or prolonged standing. Physical examination usually reveals tenderness over the medial plantar calcaneal region. The condition is self-limiting and treatment is mainly to reduce morbidity rather than to cure it. Plantar fasciitis usually improves within one year, but most patients will seek medical attention for pain relief, as it affects their activities of daily living.”

“Many types of well-established treatments are available for plantar fasciitis, such as physiotherapy, splints, customised insoles, oral analgesia, steroid injections, ultrasonographic therapy and surgery. However, acupuncture, a treatment modality commonly used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, is not considered a standard part of the treatment armamentarium.” “… a significant proportion of local patients are willing to accept acupuncture as part of their treatment.”

“In conclusion, acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment modality for the short-term management of plantar fasciitis. Four studies have shown a significant reduction in pain during 4–8 weeks of therapy compared to standard therapy or sham acupuncture.”

Contact Abigail at (503) 389-8938 for more information on how her approach to acute or chronic pain management can help your specific condition.