If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, then providing adequate support to the heel and the plantar fascia region at the bottom is a must. However, many of us fail to provide the right amount of care that our feet deserve which can lead to several other foot deformities and prevent us from leading a normal life. Imagine waking up from your bed with sharp stinging pain. Every plantar fasciitis patient is familiar with the kind of difficulties they have to face.
There are several ways to treat plantar fasciitis at home, the beginning of which starts with supportive care and regular stretches. But there are several hacks like wrapping your feet with an ace bandage that makes your life simpler.
Wonder how it works? Read everything that you need to know about plantar fasciitis and how ace bandages prove to be lifesaving in case of plantar fasciitis.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is associated with the pain of the plantar fascia. Plantar Fascia is a ligament that forms the arch of the feet and runs from the heel to the toes. This ligament is like a natural shock absorber for the feet and helps in maintaining the arched shape, thereby reducing the pressure on the heel region. But, any high impact activity like walking for long hours or standing for long can put pressure on the plantar fascia. This causes rupturing or tearing of the plantar fascia which triggers an inflammatory response in the body and causes swelling and stiffness in the feet.
There can be several reasons for acquiring plantar fasciitis, some of which can be associated with a previous injury, or due to a related foot deformity like arthritis that already causes pressure on the joints and connected areas of the feet.
Several techniques like X-Ray, ultrasound, or stretching, and walking patterns are used to diagnose the condition. The intensity of plantar fasciitis can be from mild to severe depending upon previous injuries and overall feet health.
Risk Factors For Plantar Fasciitis
Several reasons can lead to plantar fasciitis. Some of them may experience outbursts of pain at regular intervals while some of them may almost find it impossible to take a step. Here’s what you need to know about how can one develop the condition and what are the risk factors involved:
With age, our bones and connected muscles and ligaments tend to get fragile and are more prone to injuries than that of a young adult. Therefore, people usually, in their late 40’s to 70’s experience more complications as compared to the younger generation. This is because their feet have already experienced enough wear and tear and the rate of muscle recovery also reduces which leads to delayed recovery of pain.
Additionally, with old age our skin tends to sag and become thinner, thereby losing the amount of cushioning it gets. The lesser the cushioning, the greater is the impact when our feet touch the ground, thereby increasing the pressure on the fascia ligament. Therefore, one should start wearing supportive shoes with growing age to reduce the possible impacts on the fascia which can lead to plantar fasciitis.
Delayed pregnancy especially, has a high chance of causing plantar fasciitis. This is because the body loses natural amounts of calcium during pregnancy which majorly is responsible for our joint and bone health. Depletion in calcium deposits along with increased weight due to pregnancy can pressurize the plantar fascia of the feet which leads to plantar fasciitis.
Overweight people can experience more feet associated problems as well as plantar fasciitis as they impart natural pressure on the feet. More the weight, more the pressure on the fascia ligament, thereby causing more chances of foot fatigue and tearing of the fascia. People who have sudden weight gain lie at a greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis as the feet are not used to the increased amount of pressure.
Athletes or sportsmen who are generally involved in long hours of running impose greater chances of injuries to the ligament. Excessive work done by the feet like running or walking can cause harm as it directly causes the plantar fascia to stretch beyond limits.
If you work at a retail shop or restaurant or work anywhere that involves long hours of standing, you are at a greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis as the feet bear the entire weight of your body for the whole day causing immense pressure on the ligament.
Certain people have natural feet associated deformities like flat feet, high or low arches, arthritis, etc. These factors are responsible for causing direct pressure on the plantar fascia as it connects right from across the heel region. With flat feet, the base of the foot directly touches the ground and has no arch to provide shock absorbance to the feet whatsoever.
This can cause a sharp pain that can extend across the entire heel to toe region. A tight Achilles Tendon, which joins the calves to the heels can also cause pain in the plantar fascia. Regular stretching and wearing supportive shoes can be of some help to the Achilles Tendon as well as for conditions like flat feet.
Ill Fitted Shoes
Ill fitted shoes have been one of the biggest causes of plantar fasciitis. Especially in the case of women, who tend to wear shoes with several designs and a high heel that causes discomfort and changes the natural structure of the feet. This can cause the plantar fascia to get overstretched and ruptured in a way, that almost makes it impossible to walk or stand on the feet. Lose as well as tight shoes, both are equally bad for people with plantar fasciitis. While tight shoes cause your feet to get cramped up, loose shoes can cause curling of the toes that indirectly affect the shape and the plantar fascia of the feet.
Wrapping Your Foot with Ace Bandage
With plantar fasciitis, the ligament under stress i.e. the plantar fascia is under extreme pressure due to constant movement and weight. Wrapping your feet with an ace bandage reduces the movement and thereby the impact on the plantar fascia while not allowing it to overstretch and keeping it in place. Ace bandage is like a tape, usually called athletic tape which is either made of cotton or other materials like zinc oxide.
These tapes provide a snug-fitting when wrapped around the ball of the foot and stretch right up to the heel. These are available in various lengths and widths, allowing you to choose one based on your feet’ dimensions and requirements. These tapes are quite handy for athletes with plantar fasciitis and provide relief for quite some time. With regular stretching and physiotherapy treatments, these tapes have proved to be of great aid in treating and preventing plantar fasciitis.
Techniques for Wrapping with Ace Bandage
There are multiple ways of wrapping your feet with an ace bandage for plantar fasciitis. Before which, here is a list of things you might need at hand:
- 1-inch athletic tape
- 4-inch athletic tape
- Pre-tape spray (optional)
Low Dye Taping
- Use a 1-inch width athletic tape and cut 4 strips of the same length. The length of each strip should be the circumference of your feet starting from the small toenail, surrounding the heel, and extending till the first metatarsal joint.
- You can use a pre-tape spray before you start the taping across the foot to ease the sticking process of the tape.
- Apply enough tension while sticking the tape for a firm grip.
- Add another layer of the 1-inch athletic tape, this time, not exactly overlapping but extending towards the inside of the feet and surrounding the same area as the first tape. Press the tape firmly to the skin.
- Now use a 4-inch tape and cut it by measuring the width of your feet, extending from the ball of the foot and going right up to beyond the bottom of the little toe.
- Stick the tape by applying enough tension across the length to pull the arch upwards.
- Overlap the 4-inch tape using another new 4-inch tape with extra tension, which creates an arch on the inside of the foot.
- Use another 1-inch tape across the edges as before, like in steps 1 and 4.
The main aim of the low dye athletic tape technique is to take the tension off the plantar fascia which mainly causes arch and heel pain at the bottom of the foot. The wrapping reduces the tension when you are indulged in some form of activity, thereby causing less pain than usual. You feel that the arch is being pulled upward and it does not directly touch the ground while walking.
This taping technique involves making an X-shape with the tape that surrounds the entire length of the feet. The X should cross from the middle of your foot, wrapped around the back, and extending from the ball of the foot to the metatarsal joint besides your toes.
Make sure to do this with enough tension so that the heels get slightly compressed and sit firm and tight. Make sure to lift the arch while wrapping because you want to avoid pressure or excessive impact on the plantar fascia. With the tape covering the heel, it does not cause a major impact on the connected heel region either.
Alternatively, you can also use a mix of all the taping techniques mentioned above. Certain therapists recommend the use of kinesiology tape that stretches well, provides a snug-fitting and does not obstruct the blood circulation, thereby reducing the recovery time.
However, you may want to watch a few tutorials or grab some expertise from the therapist before applying the tape yourself in the most effective way.
Other Ways To Relieve Pain From Plantar Fasciitis
While taping is known to be a very effective measure to reduce pain, you can prevent the pain from recurring and avail long term benefits if you follow these measures suggested below:
For people with plantar fasciitis, rest is highly recommended as even slight amounts of pain or pressure on the plantar fascia can cause it to get ruptured. Pain is a way for your body to signal you to take rest and hence, avoid any impactful activities that can hamper your feet.
Ice provides temporary relief from pain due to plantar fasciitis. You can use an ice pack or generally use a few ice cubes and wrap it in a towel. Rub it across the heel to the ball of the foot for 15-20 minutes and do it 3-4 times a day along with adequate rest.
Stretch the ligament
Regular stretches and exercises for plantar fasciitis keep the ligament moving and stretches it correctly. It also helps maintains the blood circulation around the joints and flexes your muscles well. Some stretches for the calves and regular movement around the plantar fascia with a foam roller or tennis ball provides great relief if practised daily.
Use your thumb and press gently against the bottom of the feet, extending right from the arch towards the heel as well as the ball of the foot. Make sure to press the heel and ball of the foot tightly.
You can also use a massager especially made for plantar fasciitis that soothes the stiff muscles and relaxes the joints with strong vibrational motions. It also helps in improving the blood circulation around the joints. Check for some amazing massagers for plantar fasciitis here.
Wear supportive shoes
With plantar fasciitis, any and every type of shoe may not work. Shoes that are specially customized for plantar fasciitis and foot deformities are designed in a particular way to support the weaker sections of the foot. These shoes usually have a cushioned footbed that is raised and contoured to the shape of the arch to support them. You can also customize them by using supportive insoles and heel cups.
Avoid Wearing Flip-Flops
Flip flops are very flat and provide no protection or support to the feet. It does not help in maintaining the natural arch shape of the foot which is necessary if you are suffering from plantar fasciitis.
Pro Tip: There are specially designed flip flops available that are approved by APMA and expert podiatrists which are suitable for plantar fasciitis and for supporting the joints of the feet. Click here to check out some supportive flip flops for plantar fasciitis.
The bottom line
While you can’t avoid the occurrence of plantar fasciitis, you can certainly reduce the pain caused by the impact on your feet due to the condition. One such technique to reduce impact and prevent pain is to wrap the foot with an ace bandage. These are specifically made of materials that can stretch easily and can provide a snug-fitting when wrapped around the feet.
While there are several techniques to tie it, one must also take care to follow an exercise regimen and maintain a healthy weight along with wearing supportive footwear and not pressurizing the feet too much with high impact activities. Using an ace bandage daily helps maintain the arched shape of the feet and thereby, reduces the impact on the plantar fascia.
Read our article above and tell us which taping technique works best for you through the comments section below.
Dr Kristine has a Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine from New York College of Podiatric Medicine, and currently assists our team of shoe experts by fact-checking and confirming the information presented to the readers. As a podiatrist, she has previously worked with numerous athletes, working professionals, and high to low activity individuals on the impacts of a lifestyle on their feet. She has submitted many research papers on the role of the correct footwear in foot health and how to take adequate care of your feet.
Previously, she worked in a foot clinic attached to a hospital, before she decided to have a private practice in 2012. She has more than 15 years of experience in foot health and has been incredibly gracious in providing her expertise to the Wearsty team! Her patients have ranged from ordinary people ailing with foot problems regarding obesity, old age, and foot stress—to athletes, runners, and workers who have demanding routines.