Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis

Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis has evidence of potential positive effect as stated in the recent research paper the ‘Acupuncture evidence Project 2017’.

Electro-acupuncture coupled with conventional treatments provided a success rate of 80% in chronic plantar fasciitis which was more effective than conventional treatments alone. The effects lasted for at least six weeks.

Book your Acupuncture session (03) 5973 6886

 

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that is a common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia is a piece of thick and strong tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. The plantar fascia’s job is to connect the heel bone to the toes, this creates the foot’s arch.

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, which may be caused through overstretching, overuse or a medical condition.

 

How many people affected in Australia?

Plantar fasciitis is reported to be the most common cause of chronic inferior heel pain. Risk factors include obesity, occupations with prolonged standing, pes planus, limited ankle dorsiflexion, plantar heel spurs and running. Based on an Australian local population study of 3206 participants, the prevalence of heel pain was 3.6%.

Source- Allan J Pollack, Helena Britt (2015) Plantar fasciitis in Australian general practice Volume 44, No.3, 2015 Pages 90-91, Retrieved from https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2015/march/plantar-fasciitis-in-australian-general-practice/

 

Plantar fasciitis Symptoms

The main symptom of plantar fasciitis is pain under the heel, which can be dull or sharp. The foot sole may ache or burn, and the heel may be slightly swollen. People will often find it hard to go about their daily activities when suffering from plantar fasciitis, things such as work, sport, walking the dog, standing at the kitchen bench for long periods may all become difficult and painful with this condition.

 

Plantar fasciitis Symptoms Western Medicine Diagnosis

To check whether you have plantar fasciitis, your doctor will most likely ask you some questions about your symptoms such as the type of work you do and your lifestyle. It is also likely they’ll perform a physical examination to check the arches of your feet and heel to see whether there is any redness, swelling, tenderness, stiffness or tightness.

An X-ray or ultrasound scan is sometimes needed to rule out other possible causes of heel pain.

 

Plantar fasciitis Western Medicine Treatment

Your doctor may initially prescribe pain-relief medicine, such as:

  • ibuprofen or paracetamol
  • specific stretching exercises
  • resting your foot as much as possible
  • shoes with good support and cushioning
  • night splints to wear while sleeping
  • arch supports in your shoes (orthotics)

If these measures don’t work, your doctor may suggest steroid injections in your heel. The last option is surgery.

Sources – Health Direct (2017), PubMed Health (Plantar fasciitis), Mayo Clinic (Plantar fasciitis definition), Sports Medicine Australia (Plantar fasciitis), Retrieved from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/plantar-fasciitis

 

Chinese Medicine’s view of Plantar Fasciitis

Chinese medicine views plantar fasciitis predominantly with the view that there is a stagnation in the flow of Blood and Qi in the affected are, this may also be accompanied by heat in the local area (inflammation). For this condition, a combination of Chinese Medicine practices may be used such as:

  • acupuncture
  • electro-acupuncture
  • Tui Na (massage)
  • cupping
  • Gua Sha
  • stretching
  • herbal liniments or plasters

 

Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis Current Research

 Acupuncture for pain researchThere are several current research articles that give support to acupuncture giving relief of plantar fasciitis. Below are some examples and explanations of the research that supports acupuncture for the treatment of this condition.

The recent research paper the ‘Acupuncture evidence Project 2017’, has stated that the USVA (US department of Veteran Affairs) Evidence map (Jan 2005 – Mar 2013) shows that acupuncture for plantar fasciitis has evidence of potential positive effect. There are currently no other large scale systematic reviews for the treatment of Plantar fasciitis with acupuncture, but this recent USVA Evidence map (Jan 2005 – Mar 2013) finding is promising for positive outcomes in upcoming research.

Source- McDonald J, Janz S. (2017), The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017. http://www.acupuncture.org.au.

 

Efficacy of Electro-Acupuncture in Chronic Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial (2012)

The aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy of electro-acupuncture coupled with conventional treatments and compare it with the efficacy of conventional treatments alone in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis.

Thirty patients with chronic refractory plantar fasciitis were randomly assigned to two groups. Subjects in the control group received five weeks of conventional treatments, including stretching exercise, shoe modification and rescue analgesics. Subjects in the acupuncture group received the same treatments plus ten sessions of electro-acupuncture twice weekly.

Subjects in the acupuncture group obtained higher success rates than those in control group (80% and 13.3%, respectively). FFI in the acupuncture group was better than those in the control group (p < 0.001).

At the sixth week follow-up, subjects in the acupuncture group showed a better FFI and success rate for pain during the day than those in the control group (p < 0.05).

Conclusion

Electro-acupuncture coupled with conventional treatments provided a success rate of 80% in chronic plantar fasciitis which was more effective than conventional treatments alone. The effects lasted for at least six weeks.

Source- W Kumnerddee  (2012), Article in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 40(6):1167-76 · December 2012 with 221 Reads DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X12500863 · Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23227789

 

The effectiveness of acupuncture for plantar heel pain: a systematic review (2012)

Five randomised controlled trials and three non-randomised comparative studies were included. High quality studies report significant benefits. In one, acupuncture was associated with significant improvement in pain and function when combined with standard treatment (including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). In another, acupuncture point PC7 improved pain and pressure pain threshold significantly more than LI4. Other papers were of lower quality but suggest benefits from other acupuncture approaches.

Conclusions

There is evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture for PHP. This is comparable to the evidence available for conventionally used interventions, such as stretching, night splints or dexamethasone. Therefore, acupuncture should be considered in recommendations for the management of patients with PHP. Future research should recognise the complexity of PHP, of acupuncture and of the relationship between them, to explore the optimum use and integration of this approach. There is a need for more uniformity in carrying out and reporting such work and the use of STRICTA is recommended.

Source –  Richard James Clark, Maria Tighe (2012), Acupunct Med 2012 30: 298-306 originally published online October 25, 2012, doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2012-010183, retrieved from http://aim.bmj.com/content/30/4/298

 

What’s involved in an acupuncture session?

Initial Acupuncture sessions are around an hour long with a discussion about the condition specifics including what helps or makes the pain worse as well as other areas of diet and lifestyle to gain an understanding of how each individual patient’s body works. Once the practitioner has sufficient information to formulate a Pattern of Disharmony, which is Chinese Medicines way of diagnosing, the Acupuncture needles will be inserted into the skin. The patient may be face up or down on the massage table which changes with each condition.

With low back pain conditions, needles will be put into the area of the pain along with other ‘points’ on the legs arms and sometimes head. Once the needles are in, the patient will be left on the table for rest for around 20 minutes with dimmed lighting and relaxing music. After the time ends, the practitioner will return to the room to remove the needles and discuss how you are feeling after the treatment. Subsequent weekly treatments are shorter at around 30 to 40 minutes as a discussion at the beginning is more of a catch up however needles will always be in for around 20 minutes.

 

Chinese medicine modalities that may be used in a session

In some cases, additional tools may be employed when dealing with plantar fasciitis along with massage, stretching, use of liniments and electro Acupuncture. Electro involves attaching small clips linked to a TENS machine by cords to certain needles after they are inserted into the skin. The machine is then turned up until a buzzing feeling can be felt by the patient at the site of the connected needles. This works deeper into the muscle to help relieve pain. Once the needles are all removed at the end of the treatment, different liniments, dependant on the cause of the pain, may be applied to the area also. Many feel much like a ‘Deep Heat’ would with a cool feeling in the area as they dry.

This will be discussed with you before application of the liniment at the time of the appointment.

 

Claiming health funds for acupuncture at Mornington Chinese Medicine

 At Mornington Chinese Medicine we offer a Hicaps terminal meaning rebates can be paid at the time of appointment and only the gap payment is your out of pocket expense. If you have Private Health Insurance with Extras, it is best to check to see if you are covered with Acupuncture to be sure you receive a rebate. Please note that Hicaps is only available for Acupuncture treatments and that any Herbs or supplements will be at full cost.

 

Before your Acupuncture/ Chinese medicine session

Make sure you have eaten something on the day of an Acupuncture treatment and bring along any information you currently have pertaining to the condition. This can include blood tests x-rays or scans performed on the issue along with any Western Medical diagnosis you have been given.

 

How to book your Acupuncture session

 If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis or believe you may have something similar such as burning heel pain please call Mornington Chinese Medicine today to discuss how we can help you with your plantar fasciitis.

Book your Acupuncture session (03) 5973 6886

 

References

Allan J Pollack, Helena Britt (2015) Plantar fasciitis in Australian general practice Volume 44, No.3, 2015 Pages 90-91, Retrieved from https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2015/march/plantar-fasciitis-in-australian-general-practice/

Health Direct (2017), PubMed Health (Plantar fasciitis), Mayo Clinic (Plantar fasciitis definition), Sports Medicine Australia (Plantar fasciitis), Retrieved from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/plantar-fasciitis

McDonald J, Janz S. (2017), The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017. http://www.acupuncture.org.au.

Richard James Clark, Maria Tighe (2012), Acupunct Med 2012 30: 298-306 originally published online October 25, 2012, doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2012-010183, retrieved from http://aim.bmj.com/content/30/4/298

W Kumnerddee  (2012), Article in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 40(6):1167-76 · December 2012 with 221 Reads DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X12500863 · Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23227789

 

 

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