Let’s Move Quad Cities: Dry needling helps runner

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Treating chronic foot pain, especially for a runner, can push someone to go to extreme lengths to fix the issue. For runner, Rebecca Kozlik, the fix has become dry needling after trying a number of different treatment options that didn't seem to help.

"I love running. I have been doing it for about 7 years and not being able to run this long has been really difficult," said Kozlik at ORA Orthopedics in February, 2019.

Her issue started after running a half-marathon; she was training for the Bix 7, a seven mile route known for its hills. Kozlik was doing a lot of incline work in preparation for the race.

"I think we pretty much pinpointed it down that that's what caused me to start having heel pain," Kozlik said.

After that, she tried walking in a  boot, walking with crutches, steroids to ease the heel pain, but none of it worked. Finally, Dr. Beau Shay, a foot and ankle surgeon at ORA Orthopedics suggested Kozlik try dry needling. The process looks like, but is different than acupuncture, because a physical therapist will insert a needle directly into the muscle, to loosen it up and relieve pain.

Dr. Shay says sometimes pain is mistaken for plantar fasciitis, a common source of heel pain.

"People immediately think plantar fasciitis because you get up and you think you have pain on the bottom of the heel," said Dr. Shay.

But in Kozlik's case, her diagnosis is in a different realm - she has Insertional Achilles Tendonitis. Dr. Shay says dry needling is like a trigger point needle that goes into an area to kind of loosen up the muscle.

"You can't feel the needle when it first goes in. Once it hits the tender muscle it kind of spasms a little bit, like a cramping, but then the needle comes out and the pain is gone," described Koslik, adding she's never done anything like dry needling.

"It's become more en vogue now," said Dr. Shay. "It's another treatment avenue in the physical therapy realm."

Koslik says its been "amazing" and has given her the ability to run the next day. She plans on doing the Bix 7 this year.

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