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Plantar fasciitis affects 2 million people in the United States per year. It is typically considered one of the most common causes of foot pain. It affects all areas of the population from runners to blue collar workers to recreational walkers.
The good news is that plantar fasciitis can typically be treated conservatively. That means no need to go under the knife for this condition.
One of the most common and quick treatments for plantar fasciitis is taping. Below we will explore plantar fasciitis taping – effectiveness, types of tape, and techniques. By experimenting with taping, you can find what works best for you.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed. This is thought to be due to microtears where the plantar fascia connects to the heel.
Plantar fascia can also be termed “plantar heel pain”. People suffering from plantar fasciitis usually report pain during their first steps when they get up in the morning. This pain can also occur when walking after long periods of rest.
The plantar fascia is important because it helps to support the arch of the foot during walking. It helps to provide shock absorption during foot strike. It also helps to preserve energy during walking.
Most people with plantar fasciitis will pronate, or collapse at their arch, while walking. This puts a lot of extra stress on the plantar fascia. Runners are especially at risk due to the repetitive motion and increased force with each foot strike.
Does Taping Help?
There are many interventions used to treat plantar fasciitis. Luckily, the majority of them do NOT include surgery.
One of the best ways to reduce pain from plantar fasciitis is to rest. However, this option may not be available for many people who work on their feet all day or use running as a form of stress-relief. And rest may help relieve pain, but it doesn’t address the cause.
Taping is a way to target the cause of the issue by helping to support the arch. It is also cheap and easy to re-apply as needed. But does it work?
A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedics and Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) says yes, it does work. It showed that a simple taping method resulted in decreased pain, and was more effective than stretching or no treatment.
Another review posted in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation looked at multiple studies about taping and found that taping caused immediate pain relief in plantar fasciitis. Therefore, you should utilize taping as soon as your heel pain starts.
There are a few different techniques for taping your foot for plantar fasciitis. Some are more time-consuming than others and require more practice. Others are easily done in less than 5 minutes.
We will go over some of the best techniques below and show you how to tape your foot for plantar fasciitis. While there are many different techniques, the two below have been proven to reduce pain.
Low-dye taping technique
1. Start with one strip from the outside of your foot by your pink toe and wrap in around the back of your heel to the inside of your foot by your big toe. Repeat twice.
2. Again, start a strip on the outside of your foot by your pink toe and wrap behind the heel, but this time come up to the ball of your foot on the bottom towards your pinkie toe. Repeat twice.
3. Now you’re going to mummy-warp the bottom of your foot by starting at the outside of your foot and wrapping the tape across the bottom to the inside edge. Overlap each piece from your heel to the ball of your foot.
4. Apply another piece of tape the same as you did in step 1.
5. Apply the last piece of tape circumferentially all the way around the ball of the foot.
This technique is very simple and requires less than five minutes to apply.
1. First, start with Cover-Roll. Place one piece just below the outside ankle bone and pull it across the bottom of your foot to the inside ankle bone.
2. Repeat with 2-3 pieces, overlapping until you get to the middle of your foot.
3. The last piece should again start just below the outside ankle bone, this time wrapping around the back of your foot and across your Achille’s tendon to the inside ankle bone. This piece should anchor onto the first three pieces.
Image Credit jospt.org
What Kind of Tape to Use
While there is not a specific plantar fasciitis tape, you should look for something supportive. Leukotape is a favorite among clinicians because it is sturdy and holds up well. However, leukotape is not as friendly to the skin. If you use leukotape, you should apply pre-tape spray.
Better yet, the best thing to do is buy Cover-Roll and use it as a pre-wrap. Both Leukotape and Cover-Roll can be found at any drugstore.
How often should you tape for plantar fasciitis? The answer is easy – as often as needed! Leukotape will generally last 3-5 days but may need to be changed sooner based on your activity level. Basically, if you feel like the tape has lost its support you should re-tape.Related:Don’t forget to check out our reviews of best shoes for plantar fasciitis.
To sum it all up, if you have heel pain, taping should be your first go-to. It can help provide pain relief in those critical first days. This prevents the pain from getting worse as you go through your normal activities. It is a cheap, effective solution that can prevent long term pain down the line.
If taping and rest gives you relief for only a short period of time you should consider going to a physical therapist. If you responded well to taping for plantar fasciitis in the beginning this means you may be a good candidate for orthotics for more long-term relief.