Acupuncture for plantar fasciitis is often a great complement to treat this disorder of the connective tissue connecting the arch of the foot. People affected by this, gradually with time, feel more pain in the heel and bottom of one or both feet in the mornings or after a period of rest and also when they bend the foot and toes towards the shin. The causes aren’t well known yet which makes this disorder especially difficult to treat. Typical advice doctors give about avoiding long periods of standing, lose weight and increase exercise often are of some help but don’t address the real causes of this pervasive pain.
- Introduction & Summary
- How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis with Acupuncture in Short
- Cause & Treatment of Heel Spurs
- Gluten Relation to Plantar Fasciosis
- Stretches Video to Correct Plantar Fasciitis
- Scientific Proof that Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis Works
- Recovery with Acupuncture Testimonials
- Learn to Do Acupuncture Yourself
Introduction & Summary
Be it caused by an inward rolling of the foot, a tight Achilles tendon, a sedentary life or heel spurs, all these causes put a stress on the feet bone ligaments which produces micro-tears, collagen breakdown and scar tissue that end affecting the surrounding nerves producing a dysfunction that sends the pain signal so characteristic of plantar fasciitis. Since inflammation plays a minor role professionals suggest to change its name to plantar fasciosis.
You are probably reading this because you know typical band-aids like pain medication and steroid injections are less effective with time and have several unhealthy side effects. Resting, physiotherapy, orthotics and splinting help healing the tissue and correcting deformed feet but don’t address the dysfunction of the nerves as completely as an acupuncture for plantar fasciitis technique. My recommendation is that you complement physiotherapy, orthotics and splinting with acupuncture for a more complete approach to recovery.
How to Treat Plantar Fasciitis with Acupuncture
Short read 6 minutes.
Below is a summary on how to complement your traditional plantar fasciosis therapy with acupuncture to reduce pain and increase foot mobility.
- Search for online research papers that study “acupuncture for plantar fasciitis”.
Look for the acupuncture points used, note the success rate, if it has a control group, how many sessions patients received, etc.
- These are most of the acupuncture points that are proved reliable and used in several studies.
KI3 – Taixi, SP6 – Sanyinjiao, BL60 – Kunlun, all near the ankle, PC7 – Daling, in the middle of the interior wrist.
- Search for online diagrams, guides and acupuncture smartphone apps to help you locate these points more accurately.
Many use the “cun” as a measure unit, this is equivalent to the width of your thumb. Three “cun” is equal to the width of the four fingers of your hand.
- Stimulate each point on both sides of your body for approximately 6 seconds.
You can use acupressure, put pressure on the point just below the pain threshold with your knuckle, fingertip or tool. You should feel a pleasant pressure. Optionally you can use a portable electro-acupuncture tool which several studies conclude it may be more effective than acupressure.
- Additionally combine cupping after stimulating each point with acupuncture.
Traditional Chinese medicine often combine both therapies as it may improve acupuncture effect increasing blood flow to the trigger points. Only use cupping on places with thick skin. Do not use it on vulnerable places like the face or joints as it can produce hickeys or break blood vessels.
- Repeat the session twice or thrice a week at most until you experience an improvement in your plantar fasciitis.
Studies usually show good results on the 4th week forward but each case is different. Don’t forget to use these therapies as a complement to your Doctor and Physiotherapist prescribed treatments like orthopedics and exercises as this is how you will experience the best results.
Cause & Treatment of Heel Spurs
Bone is a piezoelectric material which under chronic stress generates small bio-electrical currents that accumulate minerals through an electrolysis process from the mineral component of the bone to its collagen component. Extending over long periods of time this stress stimulates the bone growth.
When you flatten your foot arch, for example, when you bend your toes and feet to the shins, you are pulling the plantar fascia tight. As the plantar fascia is connected to the heel, it pulls and frictions the heels as you walk. This constant traction and friction is triggers the mentioned piezoelectric effect just at the connection point producing bone growth and eventually a spur which can cause a lot of pain.
To fix this situation get orthotics to improve feet arch support, use silica, turmeric, ginger, omega 3 fats and vitamin C to reinforce the plantar fascia and help with the inflammation. Foods and supplements that have these are fatty fishes and lyprinol extracted from the New Zealand green lipped mussel. There are studies that recommend supplementing your daily silica intake with 5-10 mg. For example 250 g. of bananas have 13,5 mg. and 1 L. of beer 19,2 mg. there are many more foods with a good silica content like high bran cereal, whole bread, carrot, raisin, green beans, even mineral water so combining several of these foods you won’t have problems supplementing your daily silica intake.
Do not focus too much attention in reducing inflammation as it plays a minor role in plantar fasciosis but it may help reducing pain. As you rest your feet and remove the stress on the zone your body will reabsorb the minerals of the calcaneal spur given enough time.
Gluten Related Cause of Plantar Fasciosis
A study by Marco Paolo et al. of the Sapienzia University in Rome documented a total remission of plantar fasciitis in a 46 year old patient after removing gluten from her diet although she had no previous history of gluten sensitivity. The study also notes how gluten is related to many musculoskeletal disorders and recommends testing a gluten free diet for those patients not improving with traditional therapies. 
Quick Stretches to Correct Plantar Fasciitis
Scientific studies show that complementing acupuncture for plantar fasciitis therapy with traditional treatments like physiotherapy and orthotics is the best approach for this problem. Below is a short video with a list of all stretches you can do while having acupuncture to have a complete and lasting pain relief.
Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciosis Works
There are several studies where patients affected by plantar fasciosis had positive results and a significant reduction in pain and feet mobility with acupuncture.
- A 1998 study by A. Tilu and S. Gupta at Bedford South Wing Hospital tested 18 patients with a history of more than a year of heel pain due to plantar fasciitis and had no improvement with traditional therapies. The study concluded that patients experienced a significant decrease in pain intensity after the 4-6th week of trigger point acupuncture treatment. 
- A 2012 study by W. Kumnerddee and N. Pattapong published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine studied the efficacy of electro-acupuncture compared to conventional treatment for chronic plantar fasciosis. Doctors divided patients in two groups, the first did conventional treatments; stretching, shoe modification and analgesic. The other group received the same treatments plus ten sessions of electro-acupuncture twice weekly.
- Patients in the acupuncture group experienced a much lowered pain than the control group and they also had an improvement in their feet mobility while the control group hadn’t. 8 in 10 patients improved having electro-acupuncture coupled with conventional treatment while only 1,3 in 10 improved having only traditional therapies. The positive effects of electro-acupuncture lasted for at least 6 weeks after finishing the therapy. 
- A 2011 study by Shi Ping Zhang et al. from the School of Chinese Medicine in Hong Kong and published by the Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine wanted to compare a single inadequate acupuncture point for plantar fasciosis compared to a correct point. The study concluded that the patients experienced a 40% morning pain reduction only with the correct trigger point and the doctors speculate it may be caused by an anti-inflammatory effect or normalization of the thalamus’ neurons. 
Acupuncture Recovery Testimonial Videos
Do Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis Yourself
It may seem complicated but engineers have designed new devices able to locate acupuncture points for you and stimulate them with a soft electric current.
The points to stimulate in each session are in a table below. Each point has a symmetrical in the other axial half of the body. You should stimulate both before passing to the next point. There are pictures below the table to help you better pinpoint the acupuncture points.
You can stimulate the points with acupressure, that is, using your knuckle, fingertips or a tool to exert pressure over each point below the pain threshold, feeling a pleasant soreness. With this option you can experience a slight improvement but limited compared to electro-acupuncture which scientists used in studies with much better results.
I offer an electro-acupuncture device that locates the acupuncture points for you with a display and a beep, then you only have to apply a soft current with the touch of a button achieving a similar or even better effect as traditional acupuncture needles but only much quicker and easier. I recommend you read the quick guide on electro-acupuncture to learn the advantages and how to use this handy device in Electroacupuncture An Option for Home Treatment. After you familiarize with the device you can refer back to the next table and pictures to start stimulating the points yourself.
Point Table & Pictures
|Between the tip of the interior ankle|
and the Achilles tendon
|KI3 – Taixi||Irregular menstruation, frequency of urination,|
pain in the lumbar and vertebral regions
|3 cun above the tip of the interior ankle|
just behind the back border of the tibia
|SP6 – Sanyinjiao||Absence of menstruation, nose bleeds, insomnia,|
dizziness, numbness of the lower limbs
|At the middle of the wrist crease, between|
the middle and exterior wrist tendons
|PC7 – Daling||Palpitation, stomachache, vomiting,|
insomnia, wrist pain
|Between the tip of the exterior ankle|
and the Achilles tendon
|BL60 – Kunlun||Headache, neck rigidity, dizziness, nose bleeds,|
loins pain, sprain of the ankle