Letters to the Editor
Acupuncture May Be Helpful for Patients with Plantar Fasciitis
Am Fam Physician. 2012 May 15;85(10) Online.
Original Article: Diagnosis and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
Issue Date: September 15, 2011
Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0915/p676.html
to the editor: I found this article very helpful; however, I would like to add one treatment option for plantar fasciitis that was not discussed. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for the alleviation of plantar fasciitis pain in one small trial.1 This trial randomized 28 persons to the treatment group and 25 persons to the control group. The participants received five treatments per week for two weeks. The end points were improvement of morning pain, pain on activity, overall pain, and pain with pressure threshold as measured by a visual analog scale and algometry (a pain pressure threshold measure). At one month, the treatment group had more pain relief compared with the control group. This preliminary study seems to support that acupuncture might be helpful for some patients with plantar fasciitis.
1. Zhang SP, Yip TP, Li QS. Acupuncture treatment for plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial with six months follow-up [published ahead of print November 23, 2009]. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3094706/. Accessed April 25, 2012.
in reply: I appreciate Dr. Solomon’s interest in our article. Although we did not find much literature on the use of acupuncture in the treatment of plantar fasciitis, its use has shown positive results in treating other musculoskeletal conditions.
The study Dr. Solomon mentioned was a randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for treating plantar fasciitis that used two treatment groups: a control group (n = 25) that received acupuncture to the heel acupoint Hegu (LI 4), and a treatment group (n = 28) that received acupuncture to the heel acupoint PC 7.1 Both groups showed gradual improvement in symptoms over six months. The treatment group showed a 40 percent improvement in morning pain at one month compared with the control group. Overall, there was little difference in clinically significant symptom reduction between the two groups over six months. This study would have been more convincing if it had included an additional placebo group that received no treatment.
Another study on acupuncture compared two groups of patients with plantar fasciitis: a control group (n = 19) treated with ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and a stretch/strengthening program; and a treatment group (n = 19) treated with ice, NSAIDs, a stretch/strengthening program, and 16 acupuncture sessions to the affected heel.2 Both groups reported improvement in symptoms over the eight-week treatment period. However, there were no statistically significant differences found on the plantar fasciitis pain and disability scale between the two groups after four weeks of treatment. The treatment group showed minimal statistical improvements after eight weeks compared with the control group.
Most patients with plantar fasciitis improve in a few months without specific therapies. As mentioned in our article, there is no conclusive evidence about which modality (NSAIDs, ice, stretching, orthotics, injections, extracorporeal shockwave therapy) is the best for treating this painful, self-limiting foot condition.
1. Zhang SP, Yip TP, Li QS. Acupuncture treatment for plantar fasciitis: a randomized controlled trial with six months follow-up [published ahead of print November 29, 2009]. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3094706/. Accessed April 25, 2012.
2. Karagounis P, Tsironi M, Prionas G, Tsiganos G, Baltopoulos P. Treatment of plantar fasciitis in recreational athletes: two different therapeutic protocols. Foot Ankle Spec. 2011;4(4):226-234.
Send letters to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online, e-mail: email@example.com, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680.
Please include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.
Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.
Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions