What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most ordinary heel pains that can occur. A thick band of tissue underlining the foot connects from the toes to the heel, and plantar fasciitis is when it becomes inflamed. This piece of tissue, called the fascia, supports the foot's arch and helps absorb shock when walking (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Tension and stress on your heel can cause these small tears, which will cause the fascia to become inflamed. When this piece of tissue becomes inflamed, it can feel like a sharp stabbing-like pain, especially in the first steps people take to get out of bed (Mayo Clinic, 2022).
What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis?
The main symptom that many patients experience is heel pain due to the stress on the fascia. The pain can also spread to the foot's arch, and the stabbing-like pain will continue with each step. Stiffness and swelling around the heel may also develop, especially in overweight people, because there is constant pressure on the fascia while any person may be standing or partaking in physical activity (Cleveland Clinic, 2022). Each of these symptoms is solely from the pressure on the fascia, which is why many TCM/OM modalities can allow healing, especially for those with plantar fasciitis.
How does plantar fascittis happen?
The exact cause is partially understood; besides knowing there has been a strain on the fascia, the thick band of tissue underlines the foot. However, stress on someone's heel is the reason for plantar fasciitis because it is more common in runners and those who are overweight (Mayo Clinic, 2022).
What are the causes of plantar fasciitis in Oriental Medicine?
According to TCM/OM, when one starts experiencing heel pain, it is because there has been a stagnation of Qi and blood to meridians in that area, which ultimately causes pain (Lee, 2021). The stagnation of Qi is due to the repeated stress one puts on their feet over time. In TCM/OM theory, the Kidney Zang-organ dominates the bones and lower back. And the Kidney Meridian flows to the heels, covering most of the soles of the feet. When someone's kidney function is weak, the heels are likely to lack support and nourishment from the Kidney Meridian. Weak kidney function will also make someone prone to injury, wear and tear, and pain. Planta fasciitis most likely affects people of an older age group with more symptoms such as lower back pain, fatigue, and frequent urination at night (Lee, 2021).
What can Oriental medicine do to treat plantar fasciitis?
With plantar fasciitis pain being a prevalent injury, there are many ways those who experience such heel pain can obtain relief through multiple TCM/OM modalities. Acupuncture has been shown to help relieve heel pain and inflammation by accessing several pathways that run along the bottom of the feet. Research has shown that while acupuncture needles are inserted in the body, adenosine is released, which is great for promoting blood flow, providing pain relief, and having an anti-inflammatory effect on the heels (Welch, 2022). The main trigger points for addressing plantar fasciitis are the gastrocnemius, soleus, and quadratus plantae (Welch, 2022). These muscles are part of the calf and foot muscles responsible for flexing the foot at the ankle joint and the leg at the knee joint. Another excellent TCM modality that can allow patients to find relief for their heel pain is herbal remedies, such as those steeped in warm water and used as a daily footbath (Tan & Cai, 2021). Another great way to keep blood flowing and heart rate up is getting in any exercise on a daily basis and ensuring a healthy diet.
At Rapha Acupuncture in Newport Beach, we are a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)/Oriental medicine (OM) clinic specializing in men's and women’s health. We can help you design the best treatment plan for plantar fasciitis! Using acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs customized to your symptoms, Rapha Acupuncture provides a natural and holistic solution. Give us a call today!
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Lee, V. (2021, July 26). Managing heel pain with TCM. Pulse TCM. https://pulsetcm.sg/managing-heel-pain-with-tcm/
Mayo Clinic. (2022, January 20). Plantar fasciitis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354846
Cleveland Clinic. (2022, November 4). Plantar fasciitis: Symptoms, causes & treatment options. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14709-plantar-fasciitis
Tan, Q., & Cai, X. (2021, May 21). How to treat heel pain with acupuncture and TCM. Art of wellness acupuncture & traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). https://myartofwellness.com/how-to-treat-heel-pain-with-acupuncture-and-tcm/
Welch, R. (2022, October 17). Acupuncture for plantar fasciitis. Morningside Acupuncture NYC. https://www.morningsideacupuncturenyc.com/blog/acupuncture-for-plantar-fasciitis