What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a type of heel pain that is caused by inflammation of the thick fascia tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. It is a very common injury and we see it a lot in clinic. It is usually triggered by overuse of the foot and it can affect either one heel at the time or both simultaneously.
Who gets plantar fasciitis?
Roughly 10% of the population suffers from plantar fasciitis. It is most likely to affect middle aged people and those who spend a lot of time on their feet. About 83% of patients with plantar fasciitis are active adults between 25-65. The risk factors for getting it include overtraining, excessive foot pronation, being overweight and poor form/unsupportive footwear when working out. Athletes, especially runners, are very susceptible to developing heel problems.
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
The main symptom is pain on the bottom of the heel that develops gradually over time. This can be a dull, sharp or burning pain. The pain is usually worse in the morning when just getting out of bed or after you’ve been sitting or lying down for a while. The pain can flare up after activity usually felt mostly just after stopping.
How can acupuncture help plantar fasciitis?
The reason that it usually takes a long time for plantar fasciitis to heal is that the affected tissue is very poorly circulated with blood. Acupuncture is aimed at improving the blood circulation and thereby reducing the inflammation and pain. This will then increase the natural healing ability of the body.
What is involved in an acupuncture session?
There are 2 different acupuncture methods used to help with plantar fasciitis. The first one being so called ‘distal needling’ which means needles will be placed in different parts of the body that correspond with the heel. It is very common to find tight areas in the calf and other lower leg muscles. We also sometimes use local needling, where needles are placed around the painful area.
Can I claim my acupuncture session on insurance?
Most Private Health Funds cover acupuncture however it is important to check your level of cover with your health fund prior to your treatment. We do have HICAPS facilities so if you’re covered you will only have to pay the gap.
What is the easiest way to book my acupuncture session?
What else can you do to help your recovery from plantar fasciitis?
Rest: Initially you have to rest your foot. This means taking time off from repetitive movements that increase the pain. The inflamed tissue needs time to heal and this will likely take a few weeks, although this differs from person to person. You can continue low-impact activities like swimming and cycling.
Massage: Use some (warm) oil to massage your heel and foot. This increases blood flow, breaks up scar tissue and speeds up the healing process. You can warm up a small amount of olive or coconut oil and add a few drops of essential oil like rosemary, thyme or lavender. Massage the painful heel in a circular motion for about 10 minutes daily. You can also massage your foot using a massage roller or a little ball and simply roll your foot over it.
Stretch: One of the most effective things to do to treat your plantar fasciitis is stretching the bottom of your foot and your calf muscle. To stretch the bottom of your foot put a towel under the ball of your foot and pull both ends towards you. You can also pull your toes back towards your shin with your hands. Hold the stretch for 8-10 seconds and repeat 6 times, twice a day. To stretch your calf muscle lean against a wall with your affected leg behind your other leg. Bend your front leg and keep your back leg straight with your heel firmly on the ground.
Wear supportive shoes:The shoes you wear impact your walking or running and the force and pressure onto the heel. Get shoes with extra cushioning and arch support. If you have experienced plantar fasciitis for a long time it is a good idea to consult a podiatrist who can prescribe orthotics that support your foot in the best possible way. Avoid high heels, sandals and walking barefoot on hard surfaces. If you’re a runner, avoid wearing out your shoes by replacing them every 600-700km.