Lower Limb Dry Needling Therapy


Dry Needling, also known as Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), is an effective technique used by podiatrist to treat pain arising from muscles and/or joint pain. The treatment involves inserting a needle, without medication or injection, into an area of the muscle known as a trigger point.

A trigger point is an irritable, hard “knot” within a muscle that is painful when palpated or massaged and can produce significant pain over a large area. Trigger points are very common and can often make everyday tasks difficult. Often, these trigger points may be too deep to be effectively treated by other treatment techniques.


How does Dry Needling work?

Dry needling works by advancing the needle into the trigger point, which causes the muscle to grab onto the needle in an attempt to repel the needle. This is called a “localized twitch response”. This localized twitch response is necessary in order to deactivate the trigger point and relax the muscle. This can result in significant pain relief, decrease muscle tension, increase the range of motion, and promote a return to activity.


What can I expect to feel with Dry Needling?

Many people may not feel the needle insert into the skin. However, once a localized twitch response is elicited, the discomfort can vary drastically. Many people describe the feeling as a muscle cramp once a localized twitch response is elicited. People will soon learn to recognize and even welcome the sensation, as deactivating the trigger point reduce decrease pain, restore muscle length and improve function.

What conditions can Dry Needling treat?

A broad range of musculoskeletal injuries can be treated effectively with dry needling. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Shin splints

  • Plantar Fasciitis and heel pain

  • Achilles tendon pain and irritability

  • Knee Pain and Patellofemoral Syndrome

  • Repetitive overuse injuries

  • Chronic Pain

Who will benefit from Dry Needling?

Prior to treatment, the podiatrist will first perform a thorough assessment to determine if you may benefit from Dry Needling. If you are a good candidate, sessions will vary from 1-2 times/week. Your podiatrist  may also incorporate other forms of therapy, such as manual therapy or exercise, as part of your treatment. The total number of treatment sessions will vary depending on a number of factors, including the cause and duration of the symptoms, your general health, and you and your practitioner’s satisfaction with the outcome.


How is Dry Needling different from Acupuncture?

Dry needling is different from Traditional Chinese Acupuncture. Both methods do involve inserting a needle into the tissue. However, there are significant differences in the evaluation, application and overall goal of the treatment. Traditional Chinese Acupuncture involves inserting needles along a meridian based on Eastern Medicine principles in order to re-establish chi, or life energy, back in the body. Dry needling involves an examination of the neuromuscular system and insertion of a needle directly into hyperirritable spots within the muscle in order to de-activate it, and thus, decrease pain and restore function.


Take-Home Message

Dry Needling is a powerful and effective treatment adjunct used to treat many musculoskeletal conditions. Your physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment to determine if you will benefit from Dry Needling.

If you think you would benefit from Functional Dry Needling or if you have more questions about it, please book an appointment with podiatrist Bradley Jerome on 09-4103971 or email podiatryhub@gmail.com


About me: Bradley Jerome is a New Zealand trained and qualified podiatrist certified in Dry Needling Therapy for podiatry by CPD Health Australia. Bradley’s practice of dry needling therapy is legally limited to the lower limb, he will not perform any therapy to the lower back or any region above your hips.