Acupuncture should be considered as a major therapeutic instrument for the decrease of heel pain in plantar fasciitis (PF), according to a Greek study. Thirty-eight patients with PF were randomly allocated to receive treatment with ice, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and a stretching and a strengthening program, or another group who received the same therapeutic procedures plus acupuncture. Scores for pain and mobility/function were significantly smaller in acupuncture group after at two months. (Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis in Recreational Athletes: Two Different Therapeutic Protocols. Foot Ankle Spec. 2011 Aug;4(4):226-234).
The study above doesn’t specify the details of the acupuncture treatment but I must say that on the whole, I’ve found plantar fasiitis quite an easy problem to treat. I would usually use electro-acupuncture because of it’s reliable pain relieving effects. If the calf muscles are tight then I use massage to release them and check the achilles tendon as often this is tight also.
I suppose footwear is something to be aware of, overly flat shoes are reported to exacerbate the problem. Encouraging the patient to stretch and rotate the ankle keeps a good blood flow. There are always different approaches to a problem. Traditional acupuncturists will tend to ‘treat what they find’ so treatment isn’t always the same for any two patients presenting with the same complaint.