- What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the medical term meaning inflammation of the fascia of the foot. In other words, it describes foot pain. The plantar fascia is basically a band of tissue in the foot and it covers most of the foot’s surface. It includes three bands: medial, lateral and central. Having pain can reduce the range of motion of the foot leading to limited mobility of the affected limb.
What are the Causes of Plantar Fasciitis?
Causes of plantar fasciitis include prolonged standing or sitting, wearing high heels (for women), flatfoot, high arches, tight calf muscles and leg length discrepancies (uneven length). In very small cases, plantar fasciitis can also be the result of a bone spur in the heel. The first few steps in the morning are the most painful due to stiffness of the muscles.
Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
While treatment of plantar fasciitis in Western Medicine may involve NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), medical injections, stretches, taping and even surgery; Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses acupuncture and/or Tui Na (Chinese massage).
Fine needles are inserted at specific points on the foot and leg including in areas that are trigger points. Acupuncture points can be anywhere along the medial side of the foot, at the bottom of the foot, at the ankle and at parts of the lower calf.
If you are afraid of needles, then applying pressure or massaging the appropriate acupressure points can also induce pain relief. TCM also uses herbal formulas in conjunction with acupuncture to successfully treat plantar fasciitis and other ailments.
Exercise Stretches to Help Reduce Pain
To help reduce and/or prevent pain when you’re not able to get regular acupuncture treatments, you can do daily stretches first thing in the morning and in the evening, or whenever you choose to.
While sitting, you can stretch the toes up, holding it for 30 seconds and then relax and repeat it 5-10 times. Then raise the affected heel up while on tiptoe and press into the calf muscle a bit to stretch the toes even further. Repeat this at least 5 times.
Remember to rest throughout the day when there’s any kind of pain or tension experienced. Wear proper fitting or comfortable shoes. Avoid high heels for women and use proper orthotics or support.
Living pain free is key. It’s not only possible but also doable with acupuncture and/or massage.