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Frankly Health

By Students for Students

Surgery and Procedures

Exploring Alternative Medicine: What is Dry Needling?

By: Carina Dillon

January 18, 2018

Dry needling is a technique used in physical therapy that was first introduced in the 1940’s by Dr. Janet Travell. She discovered that the human body consisted of certain areas which she called trigger points. After this discovery, Travell and Dr. David Simon worked together to find and map out almost all of the trigger points in the human body (1). Originally called “wet needling”, which used a hypodermic needle to insert a medication or substance into the body, dry needling took on a more physical approach to loosen shortened muscles through the newly discovered trigger points (2). Since this discovery, the concept of dry needling has continued to advance and improve the lives of patients.

This form of treatment targets myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues through the use of a thin, filiform needle. Myofascial trigger points are where there is a band of skeletal muscle among other larger groups of muscles (3). When touched, myofascial trigger points are tender and can cause other spots of the body to feel pain due to the location of the trigger point (1). Dry needling helps patients by releasing pain in the trigger point area, improving the patient's range of motion and overall comfort. When applying the needles to the trigger points, the immune system, nervous system, vascular system, and other parts of the body are affected. This gives a patient in physical therapy better results than the standard hands-on soft tissue treatment (3).

A recent study published in 2014 by Physical Therapy focuses on how trigger point dry needling affects plantar heel pain. In “Effectiveness of Trigger Point Dry Needling for Plantar Heel Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” 84 patients were monitored, each with plantar heel pain that had lasted for at least one month prior to the study. Patients received either real trigger point dry needling or sham trigger point dry needling once a week for six weeks. At the end of the study, measurements were taken on the levels of first-step pain and foot pain. Results showed that dry needling had a significant, positive effect in comparison to the effects of sham dry needling. Unfortunately, there is no knowledge of the long-lasting effects of dry needling. These results led to the conclusion that while dry needling is effective for plantar heel pain, more research should be done to discover long-term effects. In the future, other studies can be done where the treatment is over a more extended period of time and long term effects are recorded in other areas of the musculoskeletal system. 


The information provided is intended for factual purposes only, not to suggest or provide medical advice to you, the reader. Consult a medical professional with further questions or concerns regarding the information listed.


Works Cited:
(1)    Frank Gargano. History of Integrative Dry Needling. Integrative Dry Needling Institute. 2017; September 20, 2017;
(2)    Dr. Spencer, J. Dry Needling Is The Next Big Thing In Physical Therapy. Dr. John Rusin - Exercise Science & Injury Prevention.
(3)    Dry Needling by a Physical Therapist: What You Should Know.  American Physical Therapy Association. 2017;

(4)    Cotchett MP, Munteanu SE, Landorf KB. Effectiveness of trigger point dry needling for plantar heel pain: a randomized controlled trial. Physical Therapy. 2014;94: 1083-1094.

ACL Reconstruction Methods


By: Lexi Duddy

October 10, 2019

The sound of an ACL snapping during the middle of a volleyball game echoed through the gym, and with that, a girl’s whole sports season was over. The ACL, or the anterior cruciate ligament, is located in the knee behind the patella and is crucial to proper movement and function for everyone. Typically, athletes are susceptible to ACL tears due to constant wear and tear, shock from impacts, constant stop-and-go motions, and pivoting. Treatment for a tear to the ACL frequently includes surgery, but recently the methods of reconstructive surgery have been evaluated for long- and short-term results.

A study done by Dr. Hetsroni, a member of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, examined long-term results regarding the athletes who underwent an ACL surgery. The study looked at fifty-five men, all between the ages of 18 and 35, and evaluated them five to ten years post-operation (1). The study found that when participating in high-activity sports, the risk of pre-injury was greater (1). Younger men are typically at a greater risk of ACL tears due to their higher activity levels (1). Additionally, higher activity levels preinjury were predictive of higher level of activity after repair. Although ACL surgery is deemed effective, there are also alternative forms of rehabilitation available post-surgery that are being considered for treating ACL tears.

Physical therapy is a necessary form of post-operative rehabilitation due to the reduced use of the leg post-tear. It is not clear what the best forms of rehabilitation are due to lack of research. A study done by Selvin Balki and his colleagues looked to determine the effect of Kinesiotherapy taping (KT Taping). KT tape is applied along muscles, ligaments, and tendons to provide a lightweight, external support that helps a patient remain active while recovering from injuries. In turn, this method helps with post-operative rehabilitation for ACL tears. Thirty males, aged just over 28 years on average, were assigned to two experimental groups. The experimental group received the KT tape and the control group received “sham KT” tape (2). The results of their experiment showed significant improvements in both groups on all of the days that were designated to evaluation. The results of the experimental group showed significant positive differences. The patients in the experimental group had less swelling around the patella, lowered pain scores, and increased hamstring mobility (2). The conclusions showed that KT tape is a beneficial addition to the rehabilitation process for ACL reconstruction surgery.

The information provided is intended for factual purposes only, not to suggest or provide medical advice to you, the reader. Consult a medical professional with further questions or concerns regarding the information listed.

Works Cited:

(1) Balki, S., GöktaƟ, H. E., & Öztemur, Z. (2016). Kinesio taping as a treatment method in the acute phase of ACL reconstruction: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Acta Orthopaedica Et Traumatologica Turcica, 50(6), 628-634. doi:10.1016/j.aott.2016.03.005

(2) Hetsroni, I., van-Stee, M., Marom, N., Koch, J. J., Dolev, E., Maoz, G., & ... Mann, G. (2017). Factors Associated With Improved Function and Maintenance of Sports Activities at 5 to 10 Years After Autologous Hamstring ACL Reconstruction in Young Men. Orthopaedic Journal Of Sports Medicine, 5(4), 2325967117700841. doi:10.1177/2325967117700841