Plantar Fasciitis: The Acupuncture Treatment of Heel Pain

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Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain and occurs in all types of athletic and active individuals.
However, simply walking and standing on a hard surface may also cause symptoms. Plantar fasciitis is an
inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that supports the arch. Some orthopaedic
texts suggest the possibility of micro-tears in the fascia at or near its attachment to the calcaneus. Fifty percent
of patients may also have a calcaneal heel spur. Acupuncture treatment uses the extraordinary point Shimian
M-LE-5 as the ‘target’ zone for local treatment. This point is located at the centre of the heel in the region of
the attachment of the plantar fascia to the calcaneus. Palpation will reliably help to determine the precise site
for needle insertion. Variations of paired needles at Shimian M-LE-5, possibly with electrical stimulation and/
or thread moxa, are often effective as local points. Numerous other secondary points may be considered on the
Kidney, Bladder and other related channels. The inclusion of complementary procedures, such as orthotics for the
correction of the biomechanics of the foot, can also enhance clinical results.
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Author Whitfield Reaves
JCM Issue JCM96-22
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