New research demonstrates acupuncture more effective treating athletes with functional ankle stability problems than physical therapy. Investigators showed that acupuncture applied to points on the ankle improved stability and increased functionality. In a comparison, the acupuncture test group showed greater improvement than the conventional physical therapy group.
Acupuncture for the Ankle Stability
Chronic ankle stability issues are typically caused by sprains that have damaged the ligaments. This results in a decrease in proprioception, a person’s ability to sense relative bodily positions and the relative strength applied to parts of the body. As a result, ankle instability affects balance and gait.
This often leads to susceptibility to further injury. The researchers concluded that acupuncture improves proprioception (the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium) for athletes with functional ankle instability and that these improvements are greater than conventional physical therapy.
Objective of the Study
To observe the outcome differences between acupuncture and physical therapy in treating athletes with functional ankle instability (FAI). While physical therapy is the most common form of therapy for athletes recovering from ankle injury, acupuncture is gaining popularity. This is due to better outcomes, faster recovery time and reduced repeat injury.
Methods of the Study
Fifty athletes with FAI were randomly divided into an acupuncture group and a physical therapy group. The acupuncture group was treated with acupuncture at a series of points that included ST 41, BL 60, GB 40 and Ashi acupoints.
These are acupuncture points commonly used in our acupuncture practice at Raleigh Acupuncture Associates.
They are all located on the ankle. Ashi points are “tender points”, meaning points that are tender on palpation. While not named acupuncture points, needling at the tender point often resolves pain.
The physical therapy group was treated with low frequency electrical stimulation and infrared radiation at the medial malleolus and lateral malleolus, three times a week for 8 weeks.
Acupuncture improves the ankle stability of athletes after injury and achieves superior benefit compared with the conventional physical therapy.
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Effects of electroacupuncture on the proprioception of athletes with functional ankle instability. Department of Rehabilitation, Shanghai University of TCM, Shanghai, China.
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I’m a runner and had been dealing with Achilles tendinitis for over a year. The doctor said I would have to have surgery eventually so I was just dealing with the pain and biding my time. Then a friend suggested acupuncture and recommended Raleigh Acupuncture as specializing in Achilles issues. I made and appointment and was impressed from the very beginning. Their evaluation was very thorough and they explained everything that acupuncture could do.
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I sprained my ankle playing basketball and was in terrible pain. I’ve had a history of ankle sprains and knew I was a slow healer. So I tried something different and went to acupuncture. The results were better than I could have ever hoped. Not only did I heal twice as fast, but the swelling went down within two days. I was back playing ball in no time. The staff at Raleigh Acupuncture were very professional and friendly. They got me better fast. I highly recommend them.
I was referred to Raleigh Acupuncture a few months ago because I was having a problem with a bone spur affecting my Achilles. The bone spur caused tremendous pain in my ankle and heel. Physical therapy ordered by a doctor really did not help. My doctor said that if the physical therapy did not help he could do surgery, but it would be very painful and would have an 8-9 month recovery period. Raleigh Acupuncture was my last hope. After a few treatments it was less painful when I walked. As I continued the treatments the pain totally went away. Now surgery is not even necessary. They have also helped me with my migraine headaches and restless leg issues. Acupuncture has made a huge difference in the quality of my life.
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