Plantar fasciitis is the most common injury of the plantar fascia and is the most common cause of heel pain. It is associated with long standing. The main symptom is sharp heel pain which is worsen by bearing weight on the heel after long periods of rest for example after getting out of bed or after prolonged periods of sitting. After continuing walk, the pain symptoms is improved. There may be other symptoms accompanied the pain such as numbnesss, tingling, swelling or radiating pain.
Acupuncture is effective to treat plantar fasciitis and realse the pain. There are some clinical evidences by recent research on this aspect. There is a study which investigated the efficacy of electro-acupuncture coupled with conventional treatments and compared it with the efficacy of conventional treatments alone in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis. Subjects in the control group received five weeks of conventional treatments, including stretching exercise, shoe modification and rescue analgesics. Subjects in the acupuncture group received the same treatments plus ten sessions of electro-acupuncture twice weekly. At the end of treatment, pain score decreased significantly in the acupuncture group compared with and control group. At the sixth week follow-up, subjects in the acupuncture group showed a better foot function index and success rate for pain during the day than those in the control group. Electro-acupuncture coupled with conventional treatments provided a success rate of 80% in chronic planar fasciitis which was more effective than conventional treatments alone. The effects lasted for at least six weeks. Another study also compared the effect of acupuncture with that of conventional treatment including treatment with ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and a stretching and a strengthening program. They also found acupuncture had better effects than those conventional treatment and they suggested that acupuncture should be considered as a major therapeutic instrument for the decrease of heel pain, combined with traditional medical approaches.There was a study compared effect of miniscalpel-needle (MSN) ( a special type of acupuncture) with steroid injection for the treatment for plantar fasciitis. Their results showed that visual analog scale scores for morning pain, active pain, and overall heel pain all were decreased significantly in the MSN group from 1 to 12 months after treatment. In contrast, treatment with steroid injection showed a significant effect only at the 1-month follow-up but not at 6 or 12 months after treatment. Moreover, the MSN group achieved more rapid and sustained improvements than the steroid group throughout the duration of this study. No severe side effects were observed with MSN treatment. Their data suggest that the MSN release treatment is safe and has a significant benefit for plantar fasciitis compared to steroid injection.
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