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Summer…“Barefoot in the Park”…Foot Problems and Acupuncture

Author: Jill Ellen Smith 8 August 2011 No Comment

So summer is here! Finally! It’s time to play and enjoy the sun. And don’t forget the extra fruits and veggies to  build your antioxidant protection in your skin. I see a lot of people who love to go barefoot in the summer or wear flip flops everywhere. I love it too…but my feet don’t anymore.

Last year I entered the world of “pay attention to those high arches…or else.” My first experience with a heel spur and the days of barefoot mama abruptly came to an end.

So, I am going to reach out to all you foot sufferers. You know who you are. The spurs. The neuromas. The plantar fasciitis. The no-style shoes with adequate arch supports, etc.

It’s a new life. And what can an acupuncturist do for her patients you might ask? As you know, we always work to determine the root/source of the problem. A podiatrist will x-ray and identify the spur or problem, which is pretty cut and dry. It’s the world of steroid injections and orthotics.

An Eastern trained practitioner will be able to support you “locally” (the feet), but also will be dealing with you holistically. Problem feet are not just a matter of chronically poor shoes with poor arch support. This may be one of the culprits but usually there is also an underlying deficiency in kidney qi and also liver stagnancy. It’s important to remember that I’m talking about your Chinese liver and kidney, not your American. Let me explain.

As we age, from a Chinese medical point of view, our livers (in charge of detoxing the countless toxins that assault our bodies), begins to tire. Our livers are also in charge of the smooth flow of emotions. Life’s challenges leave our livers taxed and overworked. As our liver becomes fatigued, we can become vulnerable to our qi not flowing smoothly. That can subject us to stagnant qi (and sometimes stagnant blood or dampness) in what we call the “channels.” If the channels in and around the foot and ankle become blocked or caught up with stagnant qi, then pain and symptoms can occur.

Our kidneys are in charge of what I like to refer to as our “battery and gas tanks.” They become depleted with aging. This deficiency can subject our livers to fatigue as well.

So, an acupuncturist can address these issues by supporting these two organs/officials/meridians. Additionally, there are countless points that we can treat on the feet that can help stimulate the movement of the qi and open up blocked channels. I can guarantee you that any discomfort you may feel from the needles will pale in comparison to foot pain, a flared up heel spur, neuroma, or plantar fasciitis. And an acupuncture treatment on the feet will be imperceptible when compared to a steroid injection into the foot.

So, bite the bullet and go out and change your shoe wardrobe. You need shoes that will support your arches and heels. Walking barefoot on hard surfaces needs to be avoided.

Be nice to your feet. Epsom salt foot soaks and nice foot massages are great.

Your acupuncturist can help you get through your summer pain free.

I have a sympathetic heart for any foot pain sufferers. I’ve joined your club, so feel free to give me a call. We can share our foot war stories as we leave our suffering behind.

Additional posts by Jill Ellen Smith