Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Stephen D. Cagle*, Carlton Covey, Jennifer Farrell, Danny J. Sharon, Paul Crawford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Plantar fasciopathy has a lifetime prevalence of 10% in the general population and can have a significant impact on quality of life. This research was conducted determine if a quick and simple acupuncture technique + a home-exercise program would reduce pain and improve function more than a home-exercise program alone. Materials and Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted at 2 U.S. Air Force military treatment facilities. Department of Defense beneficiaries ≥18 years' old with PF were recruited; 94 subjects were randomized to home exercise only (control) or home exercise + acupuncture (intervention). The intervention group had a acupuncture every 2 weeks for 4 treatments. There was no blinding. Patients initially in the control group were allowed to cross over to acupuncture after the initial 12-week study. Primary outcomes were pain reduction and improved functioning. Scores were obtained at baseline, each visit, and 6 weeks post-treatment. Results: The control group had a 21% reduction in pain scores (p < 0.05) at the study's end. The intervention group had a >50% reduction in pain score immediately after acupuncture during the visits (p < 0.05) and a 37% reduction at the study's end (p < 0.01). Subjects who crossed over to acupuncture had a >50% reduction of pain score acutely and a 30% reduction at 12 weeks post-acupuncture (p < 0.05). Function scores improved but were not statistically different (p = 0.535). Conclusions: A simple acupuncture technique acutely reduced pain by >50% in plantar fasciopathy and, when combined with a home-exercise program, achieved greater sustained clinically significant reduction in pain at 12 weeks than a home-exercise program alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Acupuncture
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • acupuncture
  • musculoskeletal
  • pain
  • plantar fasciopathy


Dive into the research topics of 'Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this