Acupuncture Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain
Acupuncture is an effective treatment for plantar fasciitis and heel pain and should be considered an option for those suffering from symptoms of heel pain .Two recent (2012) studies and a systematic review have found acupuncture to useful in the treatment and management of Plantar Fasciitis and heel pain. Before discussing how effective acupuncture may be for plantar fasciitis and heel pain lets have a brief discussion about what it is first and how it is caused.
About Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain
Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of fascia that connects the heel to the toes underneath the foot. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain in people, and although the causes can be many and varied such as sports like running, pregnancy, older age, presence of heel spurs and even poorly designed shoes all may lead to symptoms of heel pain.
The pain is usually found on the plantar (underside) of the heel. The pain is usually worse at the beginning of the day or after resting.
Treating Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain with Acupuncture
Typically at our Melbourne based clinic we usually suggest weekly treatment for cases of plantar fasciitis and heel pain. Generally we get an idea of how you responsive you will be after 3-4 treatments. After your thorough consultation we will discuss with you your treatment plan and y other recommendations we have such as stretching etc. Typically we find heel pain responsive to treatment, in line with the current available research, but again everyone's circumstance is individual and responses to acupuncture can vary.
Research: Acupuncture Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain
We have included some brief summaries from two randomised control studies and one systematic review looking at investigating the use of acupuncture for the treatment of plantar fasciitis and heel pain. The studies found Acupuncture to be an effective intervention for pain relief.
- Efficacy of electro-acupuncture in chronic plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial (2012)
- This study compared the efficacy of electroacupuncture with conventional treatment to the use of conventional treatment alone. The study was based in an outpatient rehab department in Thailand. 30 subjects who failed conservative treatment with at least 6 months of onset were assigned to either a treatment group or a control group (conventional treatment only). The acupuncture group recieved electroacupuncture twice a week for 10 weeks. The Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and the Foot Function Index (FFI) were used top assess efficacy of the interventions. and were taken at the beginning, the end and 6 weeks after treatment. The VAS and FFI decreased significantly in the acupuncture treatment group more so than in the control group. The researchers reported that electroacupuncture plus conventional treatment was more effective than conventional treatment alone for the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis.
- Acupuncture treatment for plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial with six months follow-up (2011)
- Another small scale randomised control trial investigated acupuncture for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. 28 participants were assigned to a treatment group where acupuncture was performed on a specific point on the wrist and the control group (n=25) received acupuncture on a point on the hand purported to have analgesic effects. Treatment was five times a week for 2 weeks. a VAS measure was taken 1 month after treatment for morning pain. It was found the treatment group showed a reduction in plantar fasciitis pain.
- The effectiveness of acupuncture for plantar heel pain: a systematic review (2012)
- Five randomised control studies and 3 non randomised comparative studies were included in this review. It found that there was evidence of the use of acupuncture for the treatment of plantar heel pain comparable to conventional treatments and that acupuncture should be considered for the management of those with plantar heel pain. It also called for further research to be undertaken, especially research that used the STRICTA reporting approach.
The US department of Veteran Affairs conducted a review in 2014 and reported that acupuncture has a potentially positive effect for the treatment of plantar fasciitis and heel pain. As yet no large scale systematic reviews are available to be able to further update information.
Our Melbourne Acupuncture Clinic
Based in Melbourne, the Coburg Clinic services people from Coburg and surrounding Northern suburbs such as Brunswick, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Fawkner, Thornbury, Northcote. If you wish to discuss how acupuncture can assist you call us on 03 9041 656