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How Acupuncture Can Help With Shin Splints and Plantar Fasciitis

Shin splints and plantar fasciitis are common leg and foot problems. For both conditions, acupuncture is a proven, efficient treatment that activates the body’s own pain-relieving systems and sparks healing in tormented tissues.


Shin splints and plantar fasciitis are common leg and foot problems.

Shin Splints

Pain along or behind your tibia (the “shin bone”) signals you have shin splints.  Muscles, tendons, and tissue covering the tibia get strained, then inflamed. What causes shin splints?

  • Strain from sports or exercise
  • Inadequate stretching
  • Shoes that lack support
  • Weak core, hip and ankle muscles

Conventional medicine treats shin splints with rest, ice, physical therapy, and medication. But a study of athletes treated with one of three options—acupuncture alone, acupuncture plus sports medicine, or sports medicine alone—found that athletes treated only with acupuncture felt the most pain relief and used less pain medication.

Acupuncture calms inflammation and loosens muscles. You can feel effects in a few weeks. Your acupuncturist might insert needles along or near the shin bone, in the calf, in the hips (to loosen up tight hip muscles, associated with shin splints) or even in your arms.

Plantar Fasciitis 

Your feet hit the floor first thing in the morning and pain shoots through your heel as if you’ve stepped on a Lego—or a thumbtack. This is how plantar fasciitis feels, and it can worsen until you’re in pain much of the time.

The plantar fascia is a tendon connected to the heel bone and branching into five bands that connect to the toe bones. This tendon becomes painfully inflamed and can develop micro-tears. Some causes of this common problem:

  • Causing repetitive strain by running, dancing, etc.

  • Standing or walking for long periods at work

  • Overusing the tendon through exercise or sports

  • Being overweight

  • Having high arches

  • Experiencing arthritis, incorrect foot alignment, and more

To avoid the pain, some sufferers change their gait (sometimes without realizing it), which creates other problems as it shoves pressure onto the ankles, knees or hips.

How Acupuncture Helps

How does acupuncture work on shin splints and plantar fasciitis? Needles can cause nerve endings to release neuropeptides, serotonin, and other chemicals your body produces to relieve pain and fight inflammation naturally. Acupuncture also can stimulate cells near the needle locations to heal tissue in that area and increase white blood cell counts to fight inflammation.

Contact Integrative Family Wellness in Smithtown and Suffolk County, NY, for acupuncture and other holistic treatments for plantar fasciitis and shin splints.