Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain in adults. This heel pain and tenderness shows up most often at the bottom of the foot where the arch meets the heel. Typically, the pain is aggravated during the first steps in the morning or after rest. Most of the time it goes away on its own but it can take months or even years. Some people don’t respond to physiotherapy or pain killers, resulting in years of pain and missing out on activities.

Treatment options are even more limited when plantar fasciitis becomes chronic. Insoles and exercise/stretching may provide only a bit of improvement. Corticosteroid injection, one of the most popular methods used in this condition, can be slightly helpful for a short time but can lead to a risk of fascia rupture. Some people opt for surgery which can work well but also comes with risks of complications such as posterior tibial nerve injury, flat foot, or reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

People who suffer with chronic, stubborn plantar fasciitis or people who wish to continue with their beloved activities are seeking alternative treatments. Acupuncture is viewed as one of the most popular alternative and complementary medical treatments. Its success in various pain syndromes has been demonstrated in a great number of studies, including those focusing on plantar fasciitis.

How can Acupuncture help?

I have to say, plantar fasciitis is one of my favorite conditions to treat. It responds so well to acupuncture, especially treatment of the calf and ankle. I do not like to needle into the heel because it is often painful and it is not often the actual root of the problem. Usually, activities that use the calf muscles cause tightness in the fascia that runs down the back of the leg and over the heel to the bottom of the foot. The tight calf muscles pull on the fascia and can create trauma at the bottom of the foot. Activities that involve running or jumping (that toe-push action) are major contributors to this condition, as well as simply walking more than you are used to.

Needling in the calf helps release the fascia at the root

Needling in the calf helps release the fascia at the root

Acupuncture releases the tight muscles, increases blood circulation, blocks pain signals and reduces inflammation – especially if electro-stimulation is used in combination with the needles. I also like to use gua sha – a gentle scraping technique to loosen the fascia even more. Loosening these tissues allows the trauma to heal.

Electro-acupuncture at Thrive Acupuncture

Electro-acupuncture at Thrive Acupuncture

I like to also recommend adding bone broth to your diet during the healing phase to give your body the amino acids that it needs to heal the wounds.

What you can do at home?

Epsom’s Salts baths increase blood circulation to the area and can help to further relax the muscles and tendons.

Some people swear by the Strassburg sock that keeps your foot flexed all night while you sleep.

Stretching the calves and rolling the muscles can help as well.

When you are walking, use your good foot to push you forward. Take a break from running and walk on level ground until you are feeling better, biking is also a good choice to keep you active until recovered.

Always wear proper footwear – no heeled shoes at all! Running shoes with good arch support at all times until recovered, even when walking around your home.

Book now to start your recovery so you can get back to doing the activities you love.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.