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Healing Foot Pain: Warming the Kidney Channel

Posted: Jan 10th, 2015
When foot pain feels like something is inside the foot or like a sock is bunched up under it and is made worse by walking, the diagnosis is often Morton's neuroma.  This is an enlargement or thickening of nerve tissue that often occurs between the third and fourth toes.  This type of pain is usually relieved by sitting, and sometimes massaging the feet, and is aggravated when activity is resumed.  


Moxabustion, the heating of acupuncture points and channels with moxa (typically the dried leaves and stems of the mugwort plant, also known as artemisia vulgaris) can reduce the size and eliminate the pain of a neuroma.  The area treated is near the first acupuncture point on the Kidney channel, named Bubbling Spring.  As with most conditions, beginning treatment early is easier and more effective than waiting until the pain and size of the neuroma are severe.  


Between acupuncture visits, I ask patients to treat themselves at home with daily moxabustion until the pain is completely resolved.  Application of 1-3 chosei-kyu is typically all that is needed.  (Chosei-kyu are small doses of moxa contained and attached to an adhesive that can be attached to the area of tenderness). Patients typically notice a reduction in pain and ability to walk further without pain within the first two weeks.  


Complete resolution, depending on the size of the neuroma, the healthy structure of the foot itself, the type of shoes worn and amount of time standing and walking all impact the number of treatments of acupuncture and moxabustion needed.  


Allopathic treatment includes injections and even surgery. Wearing shoes with a large toe box and heels below two inches is also recommended. 

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