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• acupuncture for plantar fasciitis or i have needles in my head and that’s cool

I had 17 needles in me during my 1st appointment. Call it brave, crazy, fascinating...whatever it is, it's thousands of years old and it's working!

It’s been a while since I blogged, so let’s just skip the long list of excuses as to why (they are good, solid excuses though, I assure you!), and get down to it. As most of you know, I’ve been sidelined for almost 4 months. I stopped keeping track because that was bumming me out. In the meantime, I’ve become a swimming fool. I say fool because I do silly stuff and think silly stuff when I swim. While it’s great exercise and I really do love it (no really), I keep it at arms length in a way because I still feel like a runner at heart and that swimming is a ‘meanwhile’ thing. In other words, I still want that swimsuit that reads “I’d rather be running” across the butt. In a flattering way, of course.

Along with swimming, I’ve been doing acupuncture for my plantar fasciitis and tendonitis in my right foot. PF started creeping in after long runs this past March/April, but, along with other injuries that popped up, I ignored it. Fast forward to June and I was practically out of commission. I finally had to quit running. In milder cases (which I’ve had before), it hurts after running or when getting up in the morning, but not so much during a run. Every step walking or other-wise hurt. PF, the ankle, the ball of the foot and even my middle toe were screaming. By evening, I couldn’t walk and had to plant myself somewhere with piles of ice. It still hurts with every step, but not as much, I’m not as stiff and I have bouts of almost pain-free time…that time is after acupuncture!

I had heard of the success my dear running partner had with acupuncture while she was being treated for a torn PF last summer. I guess this is my summer for treatments. And Debbie Nash-Galpern, our Chinese Medicine guru, acupuncturist and herbalist is AMAZING! With or without needles, I feel so loved and cared for in her office. Anyway, moving away from Western Medicine after months of icing and taking WAY too much Aleve, felt like the right thing to do. Am I scared of the needles? Nope.  I’m way more scared of a big hill at mile 20. I figured if I could run through popping blisters and the feeling of my toes turning black during a marathon, I could hack an hour of sharp objects.

My appointments have also had other benefits… Like I’m learning to relax. I remember taking a meditation class while in college and wanting to cry every time because I was so amazed by my lack of being able to relax. When I did, it was like a river poured out of me. I had a horrific case of shingles a few years ago (stress-induced) and the only thing that helped with the pain other than massive doses of vicodin was pretending the gravitational pull of the earth was 10 times stronger than it really was and all of my body was forced to relax into the bed. That’s how bad I am at relaxing. I tried this approach on the acupuncture table, but my thoughts kept getting in the way…..what should I make for dinner? How long should the dog go without a bath and oh, let’s not forget…wow, I have needles stuck in my head! I’m trying though, really I am.

Tonight was my 4th treatment. I walked out slightly stiff, but quickly my foot turned creamy warm and it feels like it’s been massaged. It’s magical. I still have sore days, but overall, I’m on an upswing, have been Aleve-free for several weeks and the mobility and strength it feels is remarkable.

Have you tried acupuncture? For what ailment and how did it go?

11 thoughts on “• acupuncture for plantar fasciitis or i have needles in my head and that’s cool

  1. I feel your pain, literally. Like you I’ve battled PF on & off for a while & ignored it until it got so bad I couldn’t walk. Finally got myself to podiatrist where I had cortisone injection in left foot, months of massage, ultrasound & electro-stimulus therapy coupled with custom orthotics. I too had to give up running. Thought I was better until the day I was warming up in a workout & heard a loud pop & felt a snap like a rubber band in my left foot; I ruptured the plantar fascia. I’ve spent the past 3 months in a lovely walking cast boot & therapy again. I’m having surgery on said foot on Wednesday. Keep us posted on your acupuncture results. I may want to try after surgery for healing as well as preventing my right foot from getting this bad.

  2. I would think that costs would depend on the doctor. For me, it’s around $100 per visit (which lasts about 2 hours). She does alot of question and answer so she can get my full health picture as well as work with my pulse to educate her on my health so she knows what herbs to prescribe as well. However, I found out that my insurance has an alternative medicine package. Who knew?! Hoping to get a price break that way. Good luck!!

  3. Oh, Terri, I’m so sorry to hear of your foot trauma. My foot doctor (surgeon to the elites here in Eugene) told me that cortisone can be a catalyst to ruptures, though it sounds like yours was a while after the shot. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with surgery and your recovery. Acupuncture sounds like it would be helpful during healing….for your foot and your emotional well-being. The nice part about treatment for PF with acupuncture is that they generally put the needles in your hands which is connected to your heart lines. So, I walk out of there feeling very positive and very loving toward everyone. It’s a a trip! But in a great way! Keep me poste.

  4. Thanks, Nikki, for your support. Knowing you on Twitter was a positive element to my getting treatment. I felt a great level of integrity and sincerity coming from you and it helped me make that choice!

  5. Girlfriend, you KNOW I can identify with this one! So glad that your body, mind, spirit are responding so well to treatments!! Can’t wait to be walking, wogging, and running by your side again!!! We are both going to be crying RIVERS! Which is a good thing now that we are such hardcore swimmers now. 🙂

    I’ll vouch for Eastern medicine too. After a partial rupture to my PF, being confined to weeks in a cast, months in a night splint and several months of not running at all, I was FED up! Did acu and herbs and marveled at my first 24 hrs pain free after just 3 visits. Three wks later, started gentle Galloway-style walk/run until I was able to run again! Sure makes me appreciate my body and re-evaluate importance (or lack thereof) of speed/distance and remember to appreciate each and every moment I can do that which I love. I fell in love with running all over again and am a much healthier, mindful runner (triathlete now!) since my injury.

  6. From chronic severe PF sufferer and become an acupuncturist (China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences)

    Many years back I had suffered severe PF, tried all medical help had failed, my last option is surgery.

    Taken an acupuncturist friend’s advise, I had go on his Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture treatments, which did improve with less pain but not cure.

    He had gave me couple of needles for self continues the treatments. following the given TCM AcuPoints treatments don’t seem to be any better.

    So I did a little acupuncture researched and select my own prescription Acupionts to continue the treatments, with a few weekly treatment, my PF had cured.

    After 3 years and hard physical works (2009). PF at same foot back again.

    I had to start all over again to trace back how did I had the first PF cured. trials and errors and all had recorded down.

    Along the acupuncture treatments, I have developed a more scientific and least invasive form of TCM acupuncture with 1 very fine needle, painless insertion techniques called E²(EE) acupuncture.

    Now can cure any reachable skeletal muscle pain with fast and effective heals, start from 1 E² and cure in 4 weeks. depend individual conditions.

    Since last 6 months E² have cured
    2 sore foot (plantar fasciitis), 3 treatments, cured
    1 knee muslce, 1 treatment, cured

    1 sciatica double spots pain, great outcomes after 12 days by 1 treatment, ongoing.
    Sufferer: nurse, 3 years of very pain, weak and tire, numbness
    Feed back: “Been feeling the slight tenderness in the area where the needle
    were inserted. Felt my legs is tired but not the numbness.”

    Cured by TCM Acupuncture but took many treatments and 3 -12 months
    3 sore backs. cured
    1 sore foot(plantar fasciitis), cured.

    And many others etc, ….

    Cost of acupuncture cure is so much less then a pair of PF shoes.


  7. After months of enduring the excruciating first step in the morning, I felt no pain this morning after an acupuncture session yesterday. My acupuncturist also guided me on self-applying trigger point pressure/massage to calf muscles pertinent to PF. I’m a believer. The doc can eliminate much of the pain in a session, but to get the most bang for the buck it helps to do your part at home with icing, epson salts soaking, etc.

    I could feel a dull pain in my heal when my feet hit the floor this morning, but it wasn’t enough to make me limp. Normally I’m holding on to door jambs and furniture to stay upright for the first few minutes in the morning.

    On another note, I occasionally run barefoot (no heal striking) in an effort to strengthen the arches of my feet, but I believe minimal footwear is probably not a great idea for everyday use since we heal strike as we walk. I never thought I’d wear a pair of clogs as a guy, but I read a lot of good blog posts about the results of a good clog since the sole doesn’t flex, but your heal is free to move, thereby giving your arch a small workout. The clog is great – I noticed an immediate reduction in heal pain when I tried them on because of the redistribution of my body’s weight to the foot.

  8. I’ve had accupuncture for menapause symptoms: hot flashes etc. I am Happy to say that it worked wonders for me! I’m ready to give it a go for PF! Thanks for all the entries on this blog to get me back to accupunture. I’ll be scheduling an appt in the am!

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