Plantar Fasciitis and Electro Acupuncture Case Study — Artemesia Healing Arts Gets You Back in the Race

32 year old male, long-time long distance runner. Main complaint of plantar fasciitis in his left foot only for 11 mos following an intense hill workout. Pain was reported as 6/10, worse in the morning. He took 1 month off 8 mos ago without change and also 2 weeks off a month ago, also without change. The patient has been doing PT stretches, using a foam roller and a tennis ball for self-massage, and wearing orthotics and a compression sock. His last marathon was about 8 mos ago. He wants to get back to running pain-free for a marathon coming up in 3 mos. The patient is otherwise very healthy, with minor digestive complaints and occasional work-related stress.

I diagnosed the patient as having local qi and blood stagnation with underlying Spleen Qi Deficiency. I treated him with local e-stim* along with supportive points to tonify the Spleen. Direct Moxa was then done in 5 areas around the base and top of the heel. He was advised to continue his stretches and self-massage, but I recommended he switch to a golf ball instead of a tennis ball as it is more efficient and easier to localize due to its harder texture and smaller size.

The patient was seen at weekly intervals for several weeks and was quickly able to switch to 2 week and then 3 week intervals. After 8 treatments total over the course of 3 1/2 mos, the patient reported only minor pain, 2/10, and was able to discontinue treatment.


*E-stim or Electro acupuncture is done by inserting the same thin, filiform needles that are used in regular acupuncture. Electrodes are then connected to the needles using small clips and a very low amount of electricity is run through them. It is not painful. The sensation is a bit ticklish or like a gentle scratching. For more information on modalities practiced at AHA, click here.