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J Man Manip Ther. 2019 Feb;27(1):54-61. doi: 10.1080/10669817.2018.1514355. Epub 2018 Sep 14.

Cupping with neural glides for the management of peripheral neuropathic plantar foot pain: a case study.

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KORT Physical Therapy, Versailles, KY, USA.
CORA Physical Therapy, Savannah, GA, USA.
KORT Physical Therapy, Lexington, KY, USA.


Background/purpose: Plantar foot pain of neural origin is a challenging diagnosis to identify and treat. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the novel way in which cupping was utilized in conjunction with neural glides to better diagnose and manage a patient who presented with symptoms of peripheral neuropathic plantar foot pain. Case description: A 65-year-old male presented to physical therapy with the diagnosis of plantar fasciitis by an orthopedic surgeon. The presentation included a diffuse area of pain toward the medial border of the foot with a peripheral neuropathic pain description. Cupping was used to identify pain in the saphenous nerve distribution and aided in resolving symptoms with the concomitant use of lower quarter neural glides. Outcome: At discharge and 1-year follow-up, the patient had a full resolution of symptoms and a return to prior level of function. Self-report outcomes included the numeric pain rating scale and the lower extremity functional scale. Discussion: This case is the first to describe the use of cupping combined with neural glides in the diagnosis and management of peripheral neuropathic pain from the saphenous nerve that was previously diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. The proposed mechanisms behind this treatment are also reviewed. Conclusion: In patients that present with symptoms of plantar fasciitis, testing neural glides combined with cupping may be warranted to confirm or refute the presence of a peripheral neuropathic pain source. Further studies are necessary to determine the mechanisms and further utility of the combined interventions in well controlled trials. Level of Evidence: Level IV.


Cupping; IASTM; manual; nerve; neurodynamics; neuropathic; saphenous; therapy

[Available on 2020-02-01]

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