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Acupuncture for Sports Injuries

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A recent study titled “Use of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sports-Related Injuries in Athletes” cited that “Acupuncture can help relieve short-term pain and recover from dysfunction and has been used as a useful, noninvasive, and conservative modality for managing sports injuries.”

Most sports injuries occur when you push yourself too hard, even with the most well-planned training schedule. One of the most effective treatments for sports injuries is also the oldest – acupuncture. While acupuncture treatment for sports-related injuries is not new, its use in the U.S. is growing rapidly. Acupuncture is a safe, natural, and effective treatment of many common running injuries. Inserting tiny hair-like needles into the acupuncture or trigger points in an injured area stimulates the body’s anti-inflammatory response. In addition, it assists in repairing muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, and nerve tissue.

Common sports injuries that acupuncture treats effectively include:
Runner’s Knee
. Knee injuries are one of the most common sports injuries. Runner’s knee is the cartilage irritation under our kneecap, causing vigorous activity to produce pain around our kneecap. A 5-year NIH study at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine concluded that acupuncture is effective for knee pain. Acupuncture treatment is directed to points around our knee and kneecap.

IleoTibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). The IT band is located on the outside of our thigh, from the hip to the knee. ITBS occurs when the IT band gets irritated by rubbing over the thigh bone while running. Acupuncture treatment is directed to points around our hip and the IT band. 

Muscle Pull and Strains. When repetitively used, muscles can strain or pull, causing muscle spasms and weakness. Acupuncture treatment is directed to acupuncture points and trigger points in our strained muscles that relax the muscle spasm and restore normal muscle function. Other therapies for pulled or strained muscles include deep tissue massage.

Plantar Fasciitis: The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue from our heel to our toes. Plantar fasciitis presents in front and toward the inside of the heel. Acupuncture treatment is directed to trigger points at the insertion of our plantar tendon. Other treatment includes calf stretches and icing of the affected area.

Sprains: This injury occurs when the ligaments of our joints over-stretch or tear while playing sports. For example, ankle sprains are some of the most common sports injuries seen and happen when the foot twists or rolls inward. As a result, the ankle swells and is painful, and the weak tendons are more prone to re-sprain. Acupuncture treatment is directed to points along the sprain.

Tendonitis: Tendons connect our muscles to our bones, and under too much stress, the tendon tightens and becomes irritated (tendonitis). Tendonitis can cause pain and stiffness in the area of the affected tendon, especially in the morning and with activity, and is commonly seen in the Achilles tendon in the ankle, the hands and wrists, the shoulders, and the elbows. Acupuncture treatment is directed toward the points on either side of our tendon. 

Acupuncture treatment works well alone or with complementary treatments such as physical therapy, massage therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in sports injuries. 

We’re so fortunate to live in an area where we can enjoy physical activities all year round. Don’t let pain stop you from enjoying your favorite sports and hobbies. Whether you’re an elite athlete, a weekend golfer, or someone looking for pain-free movement, please book an appointment with us, and let’s get to the root causes of your joint and muscle pain. 

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