Over the last few weeks in clinic I have had a number of clients who have presented with this condition. It is called Plantar Fasciitis or otherwise known as heel pain.
So what is Plantar Fasciitis?
It is the most common cause of heel pain. It is caused when the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes get's damaged or inflamed. The ligament is called the Plantar Fascia. When it gets strained it is weakened and causes pain in your heel when you walk. The Plantar Fascia is the ligament that makes up the arch in your foot.
Why does it happen?
It can happen for many reasons. Normally it is caused by repetitive strain, ill fitting shoes with lack of arch support, if you already have high arches or flat feet, if you are on your feet a lot, use your feet quite a lot e.g. running or sports etc. It is more common in middle aged persons and if you are carrying a bit more weight than you should this all affects this ligament. Also if you have tight calf muscles this can cause heel pain.
So what does it feel like?
Most people with plantar fasciitis have pain when they take their first steps first thing in the morning or after sitting for a long time. Once you get walking you may have less stiffness. Sometimes as the day progresses the pain gets worse and it may also hurt when climbing the stairs or if you are standing for a long time.
So how can Acupuncture help?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into different areas of the body known as acupuncture points. Recent studies have shown that acupuncture can be an effective form of pain relief for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.
The acupuncture points that are chosen are around the ankle and foot, also points on the calf are used if the calf muscles are tight. Treatments are advisable twice a week for the first week and then once a week for about 4 weeks. Sometimes electro acupuncture is used. Recent studies through the "Journal of Medical Acupuncture, show that " the combination of electro acupuncture and traditional acupuncture to the affected foot musculature produced a marked reduction in pain and improvement in function with a limited number of treatments.
Niamh Muldowney, owner, Anam Mai Acupuncture