Podiatric Acupuncture

Podiatric acupuncture is the therapeutic use of acupuncture by appropriately qualified podiatrists. Here at Leyton Foot Clinic our podiatrists are trained in the use of acupuncture as a form of treatment for a variety of different injuries and disorders affecting the foot and lower limb.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the term used to describe a treatment method which involves stimulating specific anatomical points over thebody using sterile acupuncture needles. This stimulation of anatomical “trigger points” across areas of the body including the foot and lower limb, can work to reduce the painful symptoms associated with a variety of different podiatry related conditions.

How does acupuncture work?

There are two main systems of belief which are typically considered regarding the way in which acupuncture works. They are:

  • Chinese Approach – this uses a theory based on the flow of energy through the body. Using various methods to stimulate specific points across the body acupuncture works to regulate this flow of energy allowing equilibrium to be restored, helping to alleviate pain and reduce muscle spasms.
  • Western Approach – this uses knowledge based on scientific evidence of the body in relation to anatomy and neuro-physiology. Specific trigger points are selected across various anatomical sites in order to stimulate the release of substances within the body that are effective at blocking pain and relieving muscle spams. Both of these approaches can be interlinked to enable the body to self-regulate and reduce the unwanted symptoms of a condition.

Podiatrist mainly use the Western Approach.

What podiatry related conditions can acupuncture help with?

Acupuncture is a useful and effective management tool in podiatry. It can be used to treat a range of musculoskeletal conditions affecting the foot and lower limb, such as:

  • Metatarsalgia / Forefoot pain
  • Bunion pain
  • Hallux limitus/ rigidus
  • Heel pain / planter fasciitis
  • Painful arches
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Knee pain – patella femoral
  • Painful scars to the feet / legs
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Painful calves
  • Shin splints

How does acupuncture work to treat and prevent musculoskeletal injuries and disorders?

Acupuncture works to treat musculoskeletal problems of the foot and lower limb in the following three ways:

  • By stimulating the release of endorphins which are the body’s own natural pain relieving hormones
  • By causing a localised vasodilation of blood vessels which increases the circulation around the affected area. An increased blood supply encourages the removal of waste products which have accumulated in the area, these waste products are what causesthe pain and discomfort associated with abnormally functioning tissues
  • By relaxing stiff muscles and tendons and encouraging the growth of bone and tissues

What are the benefits of acupuncture for musculoskeletal conditions of the foot and lower limb?

The following are some of the benefits of using acupuncture in the treatment of musculoskeletal problems affecting the foot and lower limb:

  • Eliminates the need for pharmaceutical and/or surgical intervention
  • It is a safe and effective form of treatment when carried out correctly
  • It can be used to effectively reduce pain levels
  • It can sometimes be considered for patients who haven’t responded to medications for pain

Similar treatments/services that could help?

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Taping mechanisms
  • Heat therapy
  • Foot mobilisation techniques
  • Orthoses intervention

How many treatments are needed?

The number of treatments varies from person to person for complex or long-standing conditions, one or two treatments a week for several weeks may be recommended. For acute problems, usually fewer visits are required, and for health maintenance, four sessions a year may be all that is necessary. Most people need between 3 to 8 treatments, and some people need to return for regular “top up” treatments every few months.

Is Acupuncture safe? and what are the side effects?

Provided patients are under the care of a medical practitioner or a specialist podiatrist, chiropractor or osteopath; all trained in western medicine, acupuncture does seem to be a very safe treatment. Some patients may experience bruising, may feel faint, or may feel very tired following treatment. However, acupuncture has fewer side effects than many drug treatments and most people experience no problems at all.

Do I have to believe in acupuncture for it to work?

No. Acupuncture is used successfully by veterinarians on cats, horses and other animals. These animals do not understand or believe in the process that makes them better. Belief in the therapy is not a factor that will influence the outcome of the treatment. A positive attitude toward wellness may reinforce the effects of the treatment received, just as a negative attitude may hinder the effects of acupuncture or any other treatment.

Why choose a Podiatrist?

Podiatrists work in close conjunction with GP’s, Consultants and other health care professionals. They have undergone a 3 or 4 year degree in western medicine before embarking on further acupuncture training as a post-graduate level.

Podiatrists are bound by a strict professional and ethical code.

In Summary:

  • Acupuncture is safe & virtually painless.
  • Acupuncture works naturally with little or no side effects.
  • Acupuncture stimulates the body to help itself
  • Podiatrists work closely with your GP.
  • To compliment podiatrists wide scope of practice many podiatrists now use acupuncture.
  • Podiatrists use single use; disposable needles.