7 Ways Acupuncture can assist Heel and Foot Pain.

Are you hobbling around wondering what’s going on with your heel? Does it feel like some sharp pain is driving into your foot? Or you have a diagnosis and need some pain relief in your foot? Acupuncture has some relief solutions to people experiencing Heel and foot pain, so let’s take a look at the ways in which it can help you.I often get asked can Acupuncture treat this or that? I've had 15 years experience as an Acupuncturist and I've seen Acupuncture assist certain foot and heel pain ailments. The following is a shortlist of common foot and heel complaints I think its worth trying Acupuncture to seek relief:

  1. Heel Spurs – A bony spur sticking out from your heel is a build up of calcium the body has deposited there. It can create a lot of pain and even redness on the heel where it’s located. I approach heel spurs by trying to reduce localised inflammation using acupuncture. Needling the sole of the foot can be sensitive, so a fully qualified and registered Acupuncturist is needed to swiftly and expertly insert the needle.
  2. Plantar Fasciitis – I believe Plantar Fasciitis is the prelude and a warning sign to a Heel Spur. Simply because tight fascia pulled across the sole of the foot, begins to lift the tissues away from the heel (when advanced). The body sees the “space” there and deposits calcium or bony to fill the space. Using Acupuncture to assist Plantar Facsiitis early is best – this slows a potential progression to any spurs building up. You can read more about Plantar Fasciitis and Acupuncture in these articles here and here.
  3. Sprained Ankle – If you’re touting a swollen and bruised ankle, massage may help but if that’s too painful to endure, Acupuncture has a bit more “hands off” approach to encouraging healing. Acupuncture needles are inserted around the damaged ligaments and ankle bone to move the stagnant (bruised) blood flow, assist lymphatic Drainage with the swelling, manage pain and promote healing.
  4. Gout – Sore toe joints, elbow joints and other “Gouty” joints is a sign of inflammation. High Uric Acid is the cause and often these joints are red, hot and swollen, screaming out for some anti-inflammatory relief. Start with reducing your oxalates in your diet and then use Acupuncture to improve your comfort levels and manage the pain. There are local acupoints to settle down the inflammation of the big toe and elbow and 2-3 needles would be used.
  5. Scar Tissue in the foot - You may not have an injury today, but you had one in the past, this could mean there's significant scar tissue left behind. Torn ligaments, Sprained ankles, Torn tendons, Traumatic injury could all be reasons why THAT FOOT doesn't feel great, is painful or just aches constantly. Scar tissue would also hinder the fascia flexibility, muscular flexibility or even leave some numb patches behind. Noticing how your foot reacts in cold or hot weather will indicate how the circulation and lymphatic drainage to the foot is performing. This isn't an acute pain, it's likely to be more chronic, but if you do experience a dull ache for some weeks or months post-injury, consider Acupuncture. It's productive for a more complete recovery and simply improving blood flow to the foot, and that localised area affected.
  6. Fractures - Although there's no evidence Acupuncture will heal the fracture (and by no means am I claiming that!)... it may assist the recovery phase. Further, that with any pain associated with a stress fracture or fracture site may be helped using the anti-inflammatory and blood-flow improving properties of Acupuncture. I've worked with runners and weekend warriors alike, who ask if Acupuncture can help, and my answer would be "it's worth a try to see if it will help you with pain relief and recovery". Each individual is different, but if you're wanting to speed up recovery time, Acupuncture helps stimulate the body's natural healing processes. Acupuncture would be applied around the fracture site as well as additional points for pain relief that are evidence based (Colon 4) and address any compensatory pain from the change in your posture or gait.
  7. Arthritic joints in the Foot - Again, because this is a more chronic presentation of pain, Acupuncture WILL NOT reverse any degenerative changes in the foot, including Arthritis. But pain relief? Acupuncture may provide some temporary relief to manage your arthritic pain in toes and metatarsals. The constant here is Acupuncture's ability to reduce inflammation and there's research papers I've provided in reference below for your reading.

If you're experiencing foot or heel pain, first go and see your Doctor for a diagnosis. Then, considering treatment, Acupuncture may provide pain relief without the use of drugs and heavy painkillers. You can message us on our FB page to make contact or call us today on 9938 1090 to speak to me regarding foot or heel pain. Otherwise you can go straight to booking yourself in online here.


Research References: 

How effective is Acupuncture in reducing pain due to Plantar Fasciitis? (2017) Singapore Medical Journal Thiagarajah AG1.
Effectiveness of Acupuncture Therapies to Manage Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Extremities: A Systematic Review. (2016) J. Orth. Sports, Phys. Therapy Cox J, Varatharajan S, Côté P.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Acupuncture Stimulation via the Vagus Nerve. Lim HD1, Kim MH1, Lee CY2, Namgung U1.
Mechanisms of acupuncture-electroacupuncture on persistent pain. Zhang R1, Lao L, Ren K, Berman BM.
Therapists, Trainers & Acupuncturists: Focused Review for the Orthopedic Surgeon (2015) Orthopedics. Domes CM, Kruger CL.
The effectiveness of Acupuncture for Plantar Heel Pain: A Systematic Review. (2010) Acup. Medicine. Clark RJ1, Tighe M.

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