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Acupuncture is an approach used by podiatrists in the management of painful symptoms associated with some injuries and disorders of the foot and lower limb.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a safe and effective method of treatment using acupuncture needles which are inserted into specific pathways or trigger points around the foot and lower limb. Acupuncture concentrates on the deactivation of these trigger points to help provide relief from painful symptoms associated with some conditions treated within podiatry.

What podiatry-related conditions can acupuncture help with?

Acupuncture has been found to be an effective form of treatment for the following podiatry-related conditions;

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Painful neuropathy
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Severs disease
  • Arthritic joints
  • Mortons neuroma
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendinopathy

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture can work in the following three ways;

Affects local tissues - acupuncture works to alter the way trigger points within the body function. Trigger points are small knots that can develop within a muscle as a result of injury or disease.

When an acupuncture needle is inserted over a trigger point, the muscle in which it is found demonstrates an involuntary twitch. It is believed that this stimulation of receptors found within the trigger point interrupts the neurological pain pathway between the muscle and the central nervous system. In this way acupuncture prevents pain signals from being transmitted properly decreasing the amount of pain experienced.

Releases natural pain killers - when painless acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin they cause a very small, unnoticeable amount of cell damage. This stimulates the body to release the substance adenosine which is a natural pain killer.

Pain gate theory - this theory suggests that using a stimulus such as an acupuncture needle causes specific nerve fibres to be turned off and as a result decreases the transmission of pain signals in the central nervous system. It is difficult for the brain to process two stimuli at once and therefore the painful stimulus is diminished.

What are the benefits of acupuncture?

The following are some of the benefits associated with using acupuncture as a method of treatment within podiatry;

  • It is an effective form of pain relief
  • It can be used in the treatment of a variety of different conditions
  • It is safe and non-invasive
  • Speed up healing times

Similar treatments / services that could help?

Other treatments available include;

  • Education of your condition
  • Individual exercise programs
  • Personalised footwear advice and education
  • Orthotic inserts
  • Manual therapy programmes
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