Plantar Fasciitis and Dry Needling
What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling is a fairly new treatment for chronic plantar fasciitis.
"Studies show 95% success rate for Plantar Fasciitis that has not responded to standard treatments"
It is a minimally invasive procedure that we are able to do in the office for patients suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis. Dry needling can usually be performed in only fifteen to twenty minutes in the office. Dry Needling or "Percutaneous Ultrasound Guided Approach to Plantar Fasciitis" was developed by researchers at the University of Genoa, Italy. The preliminary study included 44 patients. Researchers achieved a 95% success rate for completely resolving the patient's symptoms. Early results of this study showed significant relief for longer than 10 months. These results are for the patients who were involved when the procedure first took place.
The dry needling procedure sounds frightening to some, but it is actually not very painful. The only part of the procedure that should hurt at all is the numbing injections. Here is how dry needling works:
- Your podiatrist numbs your foot with a local anesthetic, which is almost painless. The procedure is started only when it is certain that you are completely numb. The podiatrists at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle don't want you to experience any pain at all.
- Using an ultrasound machine, your podiatrist will visualize the plantar fascia. Then, your podiatrist will use a needle to puncture it. The guidance of the ultrasound allows the precise placement of the needle along the painful area of the plantar fascia. After the plantar fascia is cut, a steroid is carefully positioned in the exact place where you have been having pain. The ultrasound is also used for guidance to place the steroid.
Ultrasound-guided puncturing of the heel and a steriod injection placed within the plantar fascia can eliminate plantar fasciitis!
How Does it Work to Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
According to some researchers, the theory of dry needling is that it causes minor bleeding within the tissues and can break up scar tissue at the attachment of the heel. The minor trauma allows the body to recognize the injured tissue as an acute problem area and this area that normally has poor circulation will have increased blood flow. Injecting the steroid reduces inflammation and helps reduce the risk of rupturing the fascia.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
The entire procedure takes between fifteen and twenty minutes.
What Happens After the Procedure?
You will most likely experience some tenderness in the foot for the first few days following the procedure. This is usually controlled with Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Following the procedure, we ask that you wear a removable walking boot for 7-10 days. This simply gives the foot a chance to rest and start the healing process. After you finish with the walking boot, you should wear stable shoes with orthotics or arch supports for the next few weeks. In some cases it may take longer for complete healing to occur.
What are the Benefits of the Procedure?
- Early studies of the procedure show a 95% success rate with lasting relief for most patients.
- Current studies show relief lasting at 10 months
- Pain relief within two to three weeks according to studies
- It is a one-time treatment. You don't need to come back to the office for a second time!
- The procedure can be performed in the Neuhaus Foot and Ankle office. There is no need for a hospital.
- Carries less risk than outpatient surgery
- Dry needling is a less expensive alternative to shockwave therapy or surgery
What are the Risks of the Procedure?
- Pain may be present for several days or even weeks following procedure
- Since it is a fairly new procedure, long-term results for dry needling are not known at this time.
- Dry needling can cause weakening of the plantar fascia and a possible rupture. However, long term inflammation from plantar fasciitis can cause a rupture as well.
- Small risk of post-injection infection, as is true of any procedure
- Allergic reaction from the anesthesia
What Do Patients Think About the Procedure?
"After several visits and attempts to rid the pain in my right heel from a Plantar Fasciitis, Dr Neuhaus decided to perform the dry needling procedure. The in-office treatment worked very well, with a local injection and ultrasound he was able to perform the dry needling in about 10 minutes. After a few days, wearing a special boot, and not walking barefoot the soreness subsided, this procedure has given back my mobility in walking without pain and with less discomfort each new day. I will recommend Dr. Neuhaus to all my friends and family. Thanks to a great caring staff at Neuhaus Foot & Ankle."
- W. H.
Don't live with heel pain or arch pain. If you are having plantar fascia pain that has not been relieved with conservative measures, call Neuhaus Foot and Ankle at (615) 220-8788 or at our toll-free number (888) 713-0906 or request an appointment online.