Trigger point dry needling (TPDN) is a common soft tissue therapy that we use here at Watsonia Podiatry
What Are Trigger Points?
A trigger point is a taut band within the belly of a muscle and is often referred to as a ‘knot’ in the muscle. It is associated with localised pain when the trigger point is palpated or massaged and a referral of pain to other structures nearby. They form due to acute trauma or repeated microtraumas in the muscle fibres and can occur throughout the body. A lot of patients have heard of trigger points in their shoulders and neck which may cause tension headaches, but are unaware that they can occur in the legs and feet as well.
What Is Trigger Point Dry Needling?
Trigger point dry needling involves the use of an acupuncture needle into a trigger point within the muscle. The aim of trigger point dry needling is to relax the trigger point in order to reduce your pain. It provides what is called an analgesic effect, which is pain relief, as well as helping to promote blood flow to the area and flush out the chemicals responsible for pain. When the acupuncture needle is inserted into the muscle, it initiates a chemical and mechanical response. The ‘twitch’ response is a visible small movement of the muscle and it indicates that the needle has accurately penetrated the trigger point.
What Does Dry Needling Feel Like?
The sensation of dry needling is different for everyone. Some find it uncomfortable, whilst others barely notice it. It also depends on which muscles are being targeted, with larger muscle groups usually being more uncomfortable to needle. Patients will feel the initial sharp prick of the needle when it is inserted into the muscle. Patients can experience a dull, heavy, aching feeling and/or a twitch response when the needle is inserted, which is normal. You may also experience referred discomfort to nearby structures. The needle usually remains in situ (in the muscle) for approximately 5-10 minutes.
Why Would I Need Trigger Point Dry Needling?
There are a few reasons as to why we would recommend trigger point dry needling. These include:
- Tightness of a muscle or muscle group.
- Palpable trigger points within a muscle belly that produce pain.
- Recurring or chronic injuries.
- Loss of function or range of motion due to tightness.
- Postural or function abnormalities/compensations.
What Can I Expect To Feel After My Treatment?
In most cases, patients will experience pain relief immediately after their treatment. However, some patients may experience some tenderness in the area following dry needling, which usually subsides over a day or two. We advise that if you do pull up sore from treatment, avoid high impact or aggravating activities until the pain settles. You can also use a heat pack on the sites to provide pain relief. We also recommend that you make sure you stay hydrated following treatment.
How Big Are The Needles?
The needles that we use are not the same that would be used for a vaccination or blood test for example. They are far smaller in diameter.
What Structures Would A Podiatrist Needle?
Our podiatrists are trained in dry needling from the knee to the toes, which incorporates over 20 muscles. The lower leg can be split into different sections to include different muscles that can be needled.
- Anterior compartment : tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus and extensor hallucis longus.
- Lateral compartment: peroneus longus and peroneus brevis
- Posterior compartment: tibialis posterior, soleus, flexor digitorum longus and the flexor hallucis longus.
Within the feet, there are 4 layers of muscles that can be needled.
Trigger Point Dry Needling in Melbourne
If you’re located in Melbourne’s North East suburbs and you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet and/or lower limbs, why not book a consultation with one of our expert podiatrists here at Watsonia Podiatry. Call us on 03 9432 2689 or Book Online.