There has been a recent trend in physical therapy where needles are being used to reduce trigger points in muscles and stimulate muscle relaxation and healing. One of the more common diagnosis that seems to be responding well to dry needling is plantar fasciitis.
What is plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).
Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move more, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or after rising from sitting.
It is often caused by tightness in the foot intrinsic muscles and/or tight calf muscles. When these muscles get tight they pull at the insertion of the muscles and fascia on the heel bone, causing inflammation. This may be why dry needling is so effective at treating plantar fasciitis. It helps to reduce tone and tightness in the muscles that contribute to plantar fasciitis. It can also stimulate the production of injury signals the brain uses to initiate a sequence of events to replace or repair the damaged tissue with new, healthy tissue. Needling in a painful ‘trigger point’ or muscular knot frequently provokes a “twitch” response from the muscle. This is both diagnostic as well as therapeutic, because healthy muscle tissue will not “twitch” when stimulated by the needle. Once a “twitch” response has been elicited, the muscle fibers in that area relax, ‘inflammation’ is reduced and circulation improves.
Here is a video example of how we use dry needling to treat plantar fasciitis. In this video they use the assist of electrical impulse into the needles. This can enhance the effect dry needling has on decreasing muscle tone.
Thanks for reading! And if you feel like dry needling might be a good treatment option for your plantar fasciitis, please give us a call!