Does Dry Needling work for Plantar Fasciitis?
The short answer, YES! At my Dry Needling Clinic in Tampa, FL I help people recover and prevent plantar fasciitis every single day. The types of patients I see with plantar fasciitis range from the 60+ year olds who wore the wrong shoes and took a walk and now their foot hurts everytime they take a step to elite marathoners who have a nagging foot pain keeping them from hitting a PR.
In short, dry needling is VERY effective at getting rid of plantar fasciitis. The way I treat plantar fasciitis is very different than what your regular doctor might do and very different that what your regular dry needling practitioner or acupuncturist might do. Let’s dive in!
What is plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis literally translated means inflammation (-itis) of the sheet of connective tissue (fascia) covering the sole (plantar) of the foot. This plantar fascia is a tough supporting structure that attaches on the underside of the heel, fans the length of the foot, and connects at the base of the toes. The pain is usually sharp at your heel and worse if you’re just getting out of bed or haven’t been on your feet for a while.
What causes plantar fasciitis?
The fascia can develop microtears due to stress, for example overloading the feet (e.g., going overboard on a new fitness routine). It can also occur when low-back nerves are pinched or irritated, which affects the nerve that branches all the way down into the foot. Many people with plantar fasciitis find some pain relief with conservative therapies, such as resting the affected foot, applying ice, stretching the calf muscle, participating in physical therapy, or using supportive products, such as braces and other orthotics.
Ultimately we need to take a step back to understand why your foot couldn’t adapt to the stresses you’re given it. This requires looking at more than just the foot because in the end plantar fasciitis is just a symptom of a larger issue. That means assessment needs to occur at all of the areas that could add additional stress and force to your foot – low back, hip, knee, ankle and all of the peripheral nerves that innervate your foot. (FYI this is not something your regular doctor, orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist is going to even think about doing).
What your a regular dry needler will do
Even a monkey can stick needles into an area that hurts. That’s easy and what you should expect from your weekend course trained dry needler (FYI your physical therapist who does al little bit of dry needling only took a short weekend course.) Sometimes this will help in the short term but long term your pain will come back. More HAS to be done. The root cause of your plantar fasciitis has to be identified and function has to be restored to whatever area is lacking.
It takes real skill to perform a full functional physical exam of not just your foot, but all of the structures, tissues and nerves that go down to your foot. So that means we have to check everything from your low back, to your hip, to your knee, to your ankle and all of the peripheral nerves that could contribute to your dysfunction.
Why Dry Needling with Dr. Josh Hanson in Tampa, FL is VERY Different
- My training is very different. I have a 5 year doctorate degree in acupuncture, which gives me a huge advantage over your weekend course trained physical therapist. Aside from training and experience, (I didn’t just take a short weekend only course like your physical therapist who does a little bit of dry needling) and it’s not a treatment I only do a couple times a day in addition to 50 other treatments like your physical therapist might do.I have highly specialized training from the best physicians around the world and my entire job is to seek out the best knowledge, assimilate that knowledge and deliver it to you in a carefully crafted treatment. This is the only therapy I perform for patients. It’s hard for patients to understand that physicians often have disparate levels of training, but they do, just like any other profession
- I have more experience. It’s hard for patients to understand the sheer difference experience can make. Unlike a physical therapist who only does a little bit of dry needling, I DO A LOT OF IT! In 2019 alone, I used over 80,000 needles. That’s a lot. You can’t get good at something if you only took a 15 hour weekend course and only use it on a couple of patients a day. I help 12-18 patients every single day with dry needling. Add that up for the last 6+ years and you can imagine how many people I’ve helped.
- What I know about maximizing your results is very different. Pain is so much more complex than just overuse and inflammation. The current medical system has really focused hard on these two areas and it’s clearly failed (that’s probably why you’re reading this blog!). And that’s why your weekend training physical therapist only sticks needles where it hurts. Through advanced training, a different perspective on pain, and sheer clinical experience I am able to help patients who otherwise would not be helped. Learning “to ignore” pain during examination can sharpen one’s ability to assess movement, helping identify abnormal joint mechanics as well as abnormal tension. By taking EVERY factor into account I am able to identify not just what is hurting by why it is hurting. Once we take a step back and figure out the why (beyond just inflammation) then we can come up with a treatment plan so your pain is addressed at its root cause.
While it’s unrealistic to say I can help every single patient who comes in my door (unfortunately no one can), I can that after having more experience performing dry needling than anyone else in the greater Tampa region, and most likely in the South Eastern United States everything I have learned and the procedures I use will maximize your chances of success.