Foot Pain and Chinese Medicine
Six main acupuncture channels run through the foot including the Kidney, Bladder, Spleen, Stomach, Liver and Gallbladders meridians. Depending on where the pain is located, one can use acupressure points above and below the areas of pain on the related channels to help break up Blood and Qi Stagnation causing pain according to Chinese medicine.
- Apply the Water Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Kidney 1
- Apply the Water Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Kidney 3
- Apply the Water Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Bladder 60
- Apply the Water Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Bladder 62
- Apply the Earth Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Stomach 44
- Apply the Earth Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Spleen 3
- Apply the Wood Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Liver 3
- Apply the Wood Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Gallbladder 40
- Apply the Wood Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Gallbladder 41
Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue made up mostly of collagen that covers each organ and muscle in the body. It can become inflamed for many reasons including strain or repetitive motions. The arch and heel of the foot is especially vulnerable to injury and resulting “plantar fasciitis”. In Chinese medicine, we see this inflammation causing Blood and Qi Stagnation (congealed, sticky fluid from metabolic waste accumulation). Additionally, three main channels related to the energetic systems Liver, Spleen, and Kidney traverse the foot; a deficiency or imbalance in one or more of these systems may lead to a disposition for foot injury from trauma or repetitive stress.
Topical herbal remedies and acupressure can be applied to break up these sticky accumulations that cause a decrease in oxygen flow, spasms, and pain of the foot. Organic herbal formulas can be used to restore organ-level health that may be the root cause of the pain; topical remedies will only provide immediate temporary pain relief if plantar fasciitis has its’ origin in organ-level deficiencies.
Similar to fascia, tendons are made of collagen tissue, but are in the form of a cord that attaches muscle to a bone rather than a thin sheet. Likewise, injury or repetitive stress can result in Blood and Qi stagnation, inflammation, and pain. Chronic stress of the connective tissues and muscles results in over-stimulation to the nerves in the areas. Topical herbal remedies and acupressure stimulate an increase of blood, lymph, and fluid circulation. This helps to drain calcium, lymph fluid, and metabolic waste. This allows for new oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to help flush out sticky accumulations.
Tendons are closely associated with the Liver energetic system in Chinese medicine. The Achilles tendon is in the proximity of the Kidney and paired Bladder channels. Therefore, one must determine if Liver imbalances or Kidney Deficiency are at the root of injury susceptibility in this area as topical remedies will only provide immediate temporary pain relief if your chronic tendinitis has resulted from organ-level deficiencies. Consider our organic Great Mender formula that breaks up Blood and Qi Stagnation causing pain in the anywhere in body.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), coldness in the limbs can be an indication of Kidney Yang Deficiency most commonly resulting in feet that can’t get warm. Kidney Deficiency becomes more common as we age and can also cause hair loss, fatigue, unexplained weight gain, and depression. Consider our organic Ancestor Treasure Yang formula used with our organic Yin Valley formula!
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Spleen-Kidney Deficiency Leading to Gout and Big Sore Toe
In Chinese medicine gout is the result of chronic deficiencies that develop over a long period of time; this is hard to conceptualize at first because the nature of gout pain is to come on suddenly just like acute conditions. This is because the resulting uric acid build up in joints happens only after the organs have deteriorated to the point where they cannot properly eliminate a substance that is typically discarded through our urine. Consider our organic Sage Mountain formula!
The sudden onset of a red, hot, swollen, and painful joint may indicate gout, but could also be something more serious; inflammatory arthritis, infection, or trauma would require immediate medical attention. Gout often begins with sharp pain and inflammation in the big right toe, but as it becomes chronic it will spread to other joints. Typically, herbs that help to speed the elimination of gout are used initially while tonic herbs address deeper metabolic level imbalances.
Related Article: How to address gout with Chinese herbs
The Wood Element which includes the Liver in TCM governs over the tendons. If chronic Liver constraints are allowed to continue unchecked, Liver Yin Deficiency and Liver Blood Deficiency will occur and the tendons will not be nourished. This drying of the tendons is evident by toes in middle aged and the elderly that appear to be tightening and drawing up. Consider our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!
Blood Stagnation and Numbness of the Feet
In Chinese medicine, numbness would be an indication of Blood Stagnation. In western medicine, numbness in both feet is known as peripheral neuropathy, caused most commonly by diabetes, chronic alcoholism, or a side effect of chemotherapy. Blood moving herbs help to “quicken the Blood” and break up Blood Stagnation thus improving circulation. Consider our organic Blood Mansion formula!
Blood and Qi Stagnation Leading to Numbness in Just One Foot
If you're experiencing neuroma, or numbness in only one foot, it could be due to a pinched nerve in the foot, ankle or back. Chinese medicine often addresses pinched nerves utilizing acupuncture and Chinese herbs that break up Blood and Qi Stagnation along the acupuncture channels.
Spleen Qi Deficiency Causing Bunions
In TCM, bunions are caused by turbid Phlegm accumulations from long-standing Internal Dampness caused by Spleen Qi Deficiency. Two of the most significant Spleen acupuncture points, Spleen 2 and Spleen 3 sit atop the area where bunions form, further indicated Spleen imbalances. Many people have a genetic disposition to Spleen issues, or they can develop through poor diet and lifestyle habits. While a fully formed bunion may require surgery to remove it, a bunion is a sign that the Spleen energetic system needs to be tonified and nourished before more serious disease patterns develop, or to keep more bunions from developing. Consider our organic Restore the Middle Way formula!
Internal Dampness Causing Fungal infection
Fungus depend on the correct environment to develop, and cannot thrive without Dampness; this is true on a log out in the woods, and it is true on and in your body. Applying anti-fungal cream and keeping your feet and socks dry will usually result in temporary relief from athlete’s foot and toenail fungal infections, but will typically return if the Internal Dampness is not resolved. Consider our organic Restore the Middle Way formula!
Spleen Qi Deficiency- Blood Stagnation Causing Wounds to Heal Slowly
Sores that will not heal up over weeks and months on feet can be serious signs of diseases that should be checked out by your MD such as diabetes and skin cancer. Even with such serious disease patterns, herbal therapy can be utilized to speed healing, increase circulation, and promote tissue repair. Thick-cracked heels would also point towards Spleen Imbalances and digestive issues. Consider our organic Restore the Middle Way formula!
Kidney Yin Deficiency Causing Cramping
While some see leg and foot cramps as a sign of dehydration, drinking water alone may not clear this aggravating pain. This is because Yin Deficiency indicates chronic dryness and requires Yin tonic herbs to correct generally. Foot and leg cramps could also indicate poor nutritional habits leading to potassium, magnesium, and calcium deficiencies. With chronic cramping you should consult with your MD as they can be a sign of circulation issues or even nerve damage. Consider our organic Yin Valley formula!
Other Common Causes of Foot Problems
Lung-Heart Imbalances Causing Hairless Feet and Toes
In western medicine, hairless feet may simply indicate poor Blood circulation, but it is a lot more complicated according to Chinese medicine. In Chinese medicine, the Lung energetic organ is part of the Metal Element and governs over the skin and body hair. The Heart is responsible for circulating Blood in both western and eastern medicine, but in TCM, the Lung and Heart are VERY closely related. In any case, you may see patterns of Lung Deficiency in those who also have hairless toes and poor circulation.
- RA and Foot Pain
- Diabetic Neuropathy Foot Pain
- Osteoarthritis and Foot Pain
- Raynaud's Disease and Foot Coldness
- Trauma Causing Sprained Ankle, Broken Toe or Bones in the Foot, or Stress Fracture
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