Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh?

No sooner did I brag about being back at the gym did my left heel start hurting last night -- clearly a re-inflammation of my god-forsaken plantar fasciitis, which has plagued me since the fall of 2010. I thought I had it licked this time -- a new round of cortisone shots, $500 custom shoe inserts, "therapy" -- but alas something feels wrong again. Rather than taking it lying down with a box of Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch this time, however, I'm taking a friend's advice to seek alternative therapies. After work today I have an appointment with an acupuncturist recommended to me by my friend Leah who, after watching me limp around for the last year and a half, did some digging around and discoverer new research suggests this heinous foot ailment responds well to the ancient Chinese treatment. It sounds like a scam to me -- right behind chiropractors -- but I'm desperate. (My pasty-white beach body will not be denied!) Would love to hear from anyone who's tried it.


dishy said...

Kenneth! I actually am seeing my acupuncuturist today! If you find the right one - it is a godsend. My insurance even covers it ( !!! )
It can pretty much be applied to almost any element - free your mind! And YO FEET WILL FOLLOW!

Anonymous said...

Sorry-haven't tried it--I did have great success with high doses of ibuprofin for a week or so. You probably have tried this already.

Love the blog.


Anonymous said...

I have the best acupuncturist here in DC. He is so good that people come from Pennsylvania, New York, to get treated from him. The key is finding a really good one. I sprained my ankle and after two treatments the pain was gone. I have also had plantar fascitis for about a year and a half. Orthotics dont help. I cured it with excercises. I did these excercises
the only one I did not do was the water bottle one. I substituted standing on the stairs and doing calf raises. The problem with most people is that they want it fixed in a week. I did exercises for over a year and it is gone! It has not returned in over three years now. My problem was that jogging was causing it. I have changed to doing spinning, elliptical, rowing, etc. This has helped.

Jeff in Sylmar said...

You need to google "Plantar fascia" and "barefoot" and do some "research".

Your foot is an arch. The best way to weaken an arch is to subject it to constant upward pressure (e.g. - shoes and inserts with high arches).

What you need to do is strengthen your foot's natural muscular structure by exercising barefoot or with minimal support shoes. But you need to ease into it slowly because your foot probably has the stamina of an infant.

Seriously, I've had PF before too and it sucks. Getting a pair of vibram five fingers made a world of difference.

Ophidimancer said...

Not a scam. Acupuncture (which is just one treatment under the medical system that is Traditional Chinese Medicine) is an effective treatment for many things, but especially pain related issues like your plantar fasciitis. I find acupuncture really effective for my headaches. As long as you're going to a licensed and certified acupuncturist, I'm pretty sure you'll see some relief, though the underlying problem with plantar fasciitis is almost always improper gait, so long term you might want to look for orthotics that not only support your arch, but correct your walking and weight transfer as well.

Anonymous said...

I can't weigh in on the acupuncture debate. But I have suffered from, and overcome, PF so I can tell you what worked for me, in order of benefit.

1. Get yourself that nighttime boot thing that pulls your toes up slightly towards your shin. It prevents the inflamed fascia tendon from contracting/shortening while your sleep and then tearing in the morning as you step on it. You know what I'm talking about: those first few steps out of bed in the morning are the worst. The boot's like a miracle.

2. You need to break the inflammatory cycle. Step 1 helps, as do anti-inflammatories like the cortisone. With due respect for the reader who says go barefoot, I disagree. Support the arch with well-constructed footwear while it's inflamed. Maybe after you're all healed, thing about strengthening it. I used to walk barefoot all the time, but stopped doing so to heal the tendon.

3. Once you're healing, get attuned to the signs of damaging activity. I used to run barefoot on the beach and I'd feel this pins and needle burning sensation from my foot, which I ignored. That was my tendon micro-tearing, which set up the inflammation that became the PF.

Good luck. It's a bitch, but you can get it behind you.

Nate W. said...

If by scam, you mean it has no therapeutic effect when compared to placebo, then yes--it's a scam. However, just because a therapy works entirely based on the placebo effect doesn't mean it won't make you feel better. My cautions for woo-based medicine are (1) make sure you aren't choosing it in place of actual medicine, and (2) make sure that the amount of money you're spending is something you'd be OK spending on a psychotherapist you go to long-term. For chronic conditions where your medical treatment is just pain management, I don't see a big problem with acupuncture if the price is right.

Anonymous said...

When a friend suggested I try acupuncture, I scoffed, too. Then my doctor said I should give it a try... and, wow, what can I say. Awesome. It's no substitute for everything your doctor and many here have suggested; but, just for an hour (well, 50 minutes) of pure relaxation, it's worth giving it a try. Be careful the first time. I got an endorphin high that was so potent, I had to go sit at Starbucks for an hour to come down before driving.

Anonymous said...

Also try ultrasound therapy. It really helpos

Joe said...

I've had both and I don't know if acupuncture will work for Plantars, but I do know it is amazing for pain and inflammation. My physical therapist had me go through my shoe closet and get rid of anything with a negative arch. Also all new show purchases should have my heal elevated above the ball of my foot. It has been about 8 years and no further problems.

Acupuncture is amazing, and you should be careful afterwards, the "high" from treatment is much like being buzzed from alcohol but without the headache the next morning!

Anonymous said...

I tried it for two simultaneously herniated disks in my neck. It was the only thing that worked after an entire year of everything else.
My arm and shoulder had shrunk and I had had shots, therapy, traction, you name it... Acupuncture stopped the pain flat!

Anonymous said...

I am an Aussie living in China and started getting acupuncture for psoriasis 4 weeks ago. Cortisone creams and such supplied by western doctors have failed to help relieve the symptoms for the last 4 years I have suffered from it.

After 4 rounds of treatment, I have never had my skin look so good . I am now a convert to trying Traditional Chinese Medicine if western medicine fails.

castaway said...

My pain was where the plantar fascia tendon connects to the heel bone, inside left foot, and I was getting regular cortizone injections for several years. Well my new dog helped heal me. Yes, it's true. I came home one afternoon to find the gazebo chairs knocked over, hammocks chewed, and cushions ripped open with stuffing all over like snow. Forgetting I had to favor my left foot, I sprang after her with a fly swatter and heard and felt the pop in my foot. After 2 weeks of almost non-use, just letting it heal, I gently began using it again until I gained normal movement. Never had another problem or pain there since! and its now several years later. BTW, my dog has learned her limits (also outgrown her chewy phase) and we continue to live happily ever after.