Does acupuncture help foot pain?

by Lilly Hillairet Clinic Assistant

Introduction:

Foot pain is a common condition that we often treat in our clinic. Many diseases have foot pain as a symptom. A symptom can be treated alone or it can be addressed with the condition that is being treated. Addressing only the symptom might only provide temporary results however treating the original condition might completely resolve the symptoms.

Foot pain can be caused by a sprain ankle, plantar fasciitis and more.

Picture of a Sprain ankle

In case of diabetes II, high levels of sugar in the blood damage both the nerves and blood vessels increasing the risks of nerve pain and poor circulation. Nerve pain is also called neuropathy.

The four types of diabetic neuropathy include:

Peripheral Neuropathy:

Symptoms are:

  • Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain and changes in body temperature.
  • Tingling or burning sensation.
  • Sharp pain or cramps.
  • Increased sensitivity to touch.
  • Serious foot pain which result in; ulcers, infections, bone and joint pain. 

Autonomic Neuropathy:

Controls the heart, bladder, stomach, intestines, sex organs and eyes.  The impact of damage nerves includes:

  • Lack  of awareness that blood sugar levels are low.
  • Bladder or bowel problems.
  • Slow stomach emptying (Gastroparesis)-causing-nausea, vomitting, and loss of appetite.
  • Decreased sexual desire.

Proximal Neuropathy:

Thighs, hips, buttocks, legs, abdominal, and chest area. Usually it only affects one side of the body but if not treated can spread. These symptoms include: 

  • Severe pain in a hip, thigh, or buttock
  • Eventual weak and shrinking of the thigh muscles
  • Difficulty rising from a sitting position
  • Severe stomach pain

Focal Neuropathy:

Refers to damage of a specific nerve

Two types; Cranial and peripheral.

 May lead to:

  • Difficulty focusing or double vision.
  • Aching behind one eye.
  • Paralysis on one side of your face.
  • Numbness or tingling in hand or fingers.
  • Weakness in hands. Difficulty holding anything.

Lack of activities due to pain might cause an increase of body weight and then more pressure will be applied to the lower extremities.

Acupuncture treats these conditions and it is usually successful.

 Acupuncture for the foot focuses locally by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.  If the foot pain is left untreated risks of:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth
  • tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Poor function
  • Limping

After treatment, it is recommended to rest and to limit activities.

Based on the condition we might recommend light exercise and using heat the following day to support the treatment.

We also recommend:

  • Foot Elevation
  • Soaking feet in warm water with salt.
  • Running feet under warm and cold water.
  • Massaging the areas that are tender.
  • Exercise
  • Wearing Insoles

Conclusion:

Treating the condition as soon as possible  is important to avoid unwanted weight gain due to the lack of activities because it could potentially generate more pain. Weigh gain has a tendency to create more pressure on the joints. Acupuncture is successful to treat foot pain and it is also recommended if a patient had foot or ankle surgery.