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Nerve damage in ankle from acupuncture


I am pretty sure the nerve pain in my leg is a result of acupuncture. It has been 4 months since the painful treatments. How can I repair those nerves? I’m having increasing trouble walking despite being an active person.


First, did you have “acupuncture” from a fully licensed acupuncturist? or from a PT, MD or some other ealth professional practicing “acupuncture”. It will help me to answer the question.

There are a few of these on the site already well discussed (you can use the search button on the top border). Generally speaking from a licensed acupuncturist this is extremely uncommon, if not nearly technically impossible. But it is more common from more localized techniques like dry needling from a PT for example. Although for better or worse some acupuncturists have also picked up some of these techniques which at best lead to poor results and at worse, possibly this.

Long story short, however, unless it was someone completely untrained it is really unlikely to create any kind of significant nerve damage. But with very bad and/or aggressive technique it is possible - which is why we hear these stories from time to time. The marginal type of nerve damage which is possible, generally will heal on it’s own within 10-15 weeks or so, but you are already past that time - although some of the other things you may have done in the interim to help the situation may have actually worsened it.

Perhaps oddly, my recommendation is nearly always the same. Acupuncture is actually quite effective at a whole range of nerve related issues. As we are usually every persons last stop after weeks, months or even years of trying everything else first, we are used to fixing these types of issues. So we regularly bring people back from damage from surgery, from neglect, from diabetes, from nearly anything. Clinically, I’ve never seen it do anything but help. But, again, it has to be from someone fully trained. Unfortunately some countries have limited regulations and others have some but limited practitioner confidence which may lead to poor technique in the early years particularly.


DAC-LAC-DIPL-OM These are the letters after his name. I suspect the treatment because it did cause pain and even fear of treatment. It might be something else, but I didn’t have problems before in my foot. It is aggravated by exercise now and usually subsides after gentle walking but yesterday it hurt all day.


What specifically makes you think it is nerve pain? Also did the practitioner use electric stimulation? Do you recall if he used his hands to manipulate the needle (lifting and thrusting or twirling the needle once it was in)?


When it is massaged there is a spot that is extremely painful that is in the area where the painful needle was placed. I don’t recall well if he twisted it. A heat lamp was used and I did experience shooting pains when the needle was placed. When I told him that he didn’t seem to change his treatment. My main concern is healing. I’m not one to go back and seek reparations.

No electrical stimulation was used.


What were you seeing the acupuncturist for? And how many times did you go? And was this point used everytime or was this from one single incident? And is this the outside or the inside of the ankle?


I was going for my right shoulder which has some rotator cuff issues. I feel the nerve pain just above my left ankle but more pain in my heel actually.

I went about 23 times, usually 2x week. I do believe the same point was used each time (by that practitioner, there are two I would see but the other one didn’t hit the same spot).


By subsides do you mean the pain disappears completely or is just less? How is it at night? how is it when your first get up in the morning? how is it if you don’t exercise? And just to be completely clear in 4 months since this has happened you have had 1 day where it hurt the entire day - correct? and that was just recently and you haven’t had any acupuncture in that time frame?

Generally nerve pain doesn’t really stop, it may modulate a bit, but it doesn’t really turn off and on - the type of nerve pain that may come from needle damage trauma anyhow. What you are describing sounds like either bone spurs or some type of achilles strain or tendonitis.

Have you seen an orthopedic physician, had an MRI, xray or ultrasound?


It doesn’t disappear altogether, but it is usually okay at night and worse in the morning. I suspect it could be arthritis as my mother said she started with it in her 40s and I’m hitting 50 soon. I didn’t have insurance (and now have a health share) but may need to see a doctor to see what it is. I truly appreciate all the time you’ve taken to help me know what might be causing my pain. Thank you.


sounds a lot like plantar fasciosis/itis. the pain can be directly in the arch, along the achilles, or inferior and/or posterior to the medial ankle. also, stiff in the morning, better after walking/stretching is a classic sign.


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