Do you experience a sharp pain each time you wake up in the morning? Does your heel hurt with long hours of standing? Do you experience foot fatigue after small intervals of activity?
If you relate to any of these conditions above, then you are likely a victim of Plantar Fasciitis. It is characterized by the inflammation of the ligament called the Plantar Fascia that stretches right across the heel to the ball of the foot. The plantar fascia forms the arch of the feet and provides shock absorbance to reduce the heavy impact on the connected nerves of the feet.
However, with plantar fasciitis, your feet crave supportive footwear and some additional therapy like massaging and stretching. But, if your lifestyle includes some intense daily activity and running around, being on your toes all the time, then one of the best effective and go-to techniques is taping for plantar fasciitis.
Many podiatrists and professionals suggest taping to be very helpful and provide temporary relief by supporting the plantar fascia ligament. Wonder how you can take advantage of it?
Read below to know everything about plantar fasciitis and the taping techniques that you can apply for quick relief.
What Are The Benefits Of Taping For Plantar Fasciitis?
Taping is a very common and useful hack for plantar fasciitis and is mostly used by athletes and people who want to indulge in heavy or impactful activities. Since it is recommended by podiatrists and physiotherapists, there are several benefits to taping apart from just being useful for plantar fasciitis. Read on to know:
Reduces movement of the ligament
If the taping is done applying proper tension across the legs, surrounding the heel and the ball of the foot properly, then the ligaments and the associated nerves are properly supported and held in place, which reduces the pressure and movement of the ligament for active support to the feet.
Provides temporary pain relief
Since the pressure on the ligament is reduced and there is no direct impact on the plantar fascia, the taping also provides pain relief. The ligament is held in place and is not overstressed or overstretched.
Taping across the edges of the feet as well as the base of the feet, not only supports but also aids in the proper flow of blood to the ligaments, thereby providing relaxation and reducing the pain.
Your feet are covered and well supported which reduces the chances of injury and heavy impact on the plantar fascia.
Boosts athletic performance
Taping reduces foot fatigue and boosts your overall performance. You would almost feel like the pain is gone with appropriate taping while there is almost no direct pressure on the feet.
Materials Required for Taping
Taping materials for plantar fasciitis are very easy to find. You can find them in an orthotics shop, medical shop, or even online. Make sure to measure the dimensions of your feet well as these tapes are available in different sizes as well as colors to match your preferences.
Keep a pair of scissors handy along with some pre-taping spray to make your feet dry and aid in better sticking of the tape. There are several types of tapes available based on your intensity of pain, comfort levels, and preferences. They are:
The cover roll is also called the pre-tape. Some experts or podiatrists recommend using this for protection to the skin while it does not provide actual support to the feet. It does not irritate the skin or allow the main tape to leave any sticky marks across your feet.
Zinc Oxide Tape
Zinc oxide tape is the most widely used form of athletic tape for heavy activity and intense workouts. It is most preferred by athletes and sportsmen to support the ligament and prevent injuries. It appears like a thin, woven cloth tape that has an adhesive on one side for sticking on your feet.
The zinc oxide tape is usually made of cotton or viscose rayon and the adhesive is usually made of latex which is safe for the skin. These tapes do not stretch much and are called rigid tapes. It is formulated to stick tight to the skin and hold the ligament firmly. This is basically used to keep the ligament in place and strap up injured limbs.
It also restricts the movement of the plantar fascia ligament thereby reducing pain and impact on the feet. It can also be used to prevent shoe bites and calluses on the feet as it sticks well, much better than a bandage.
Several brands manufacture kinesiology tape, but the original one was developed way back in the 1970s by a Chiropractor named Dr. Kenzo Kase. Hence, the tape gets its name which is known to provide support, as well as maintain flexibility in terms of movement of the feet. These tapes are mostly used by athletes to reduce swelling and pain due to injuries while playing a sport.
It is made of a proprietary blend of cotton and nylon and it stretches slightly with lifting the surface from where you tie it. This helps in maintaining the arch of the feet while the bottom of the feet is lifted, not causing an impact on the plantar fascia.
Remember, it does not support the feet in any way, it just lifts the skin and arches due to the stretch which prevents the plantar fascia from directly coming in contact with the ground.
Research shows that kinesiology tapes lift the tensed, knotted muscles of the fascia region due to which the area gets decompressed. It does not cause an impact on the neurons attached to the ligament which in turn is very beneficial to provide pain relief. These tapes are known to enhance performance and revive or retrain your muscles.
The application process for taping for plantar fasciitis is fairly simple but may need some initial guidance from someone or help from your podiatrist to toe it effectively. Since it needs to target the right spots, you can follow this step by step application process for best results with taping:
- Take the cover roll and cut a few strips of it. You can measure the length of the strips based on the measurements of your feet, that is the width of your feet extending from across the ball of the foot to the metatarsal joint besides your little finger.
- Take one strip of the pre-tape, peel it off, and stick it from the ball of the foot extending right up to the top middle portion of your feet.
- Don’t pull the ore tape too hard but you can stretch it slightly to give you a snug-fitting across the feet.
- Take another strip and wrap it around the arch to the top of the feet covering the first layer slightly.
- Use the zinc oxide main tape and place it over the first layer of the cover tape.
- Put another layer of the main tape over the second layer of the cover tape.
- You can overlap the two main tapes slightly over each other and stretch it a bit for a snug fit.
Warning: if your skin is sensitive to adhesives used in these tapes, avoid using them and look for alternative support options for plantar fasciitis as mentioned below.
While you saw the steps to the basic application procedure, there are several techniques to apply these tapes based on the severity of pain and your comfort levels. We guide you with some taping techniques for effective relief at home:
Low dye taping
This is a taping technique that reduces the pressure on your foot and allows your feet to feel active even with plantar fasciitis. For this technique, you will need:
- Strips of 1-inch athletic tape
- Strips of 4-inch athletic tape
- Pre tape spray
Here are the steps you can follow for low dye taping for plantar fasciitis:
- Cut 4 strips of 1-inch athletic tape and measure it with the length of your feet.
- Stick these strips across the corners of your feet, overlapping one above the other
- Then cut two strips of the 4-inch tape and stick it extending from beyond the ball of the foot, to the arch all the way to the top of the foot.
- You can use some pre-tape spray for effective sticking of the tape and avoiding it from coming off due to dust or sweat.
- Make sure to stretch the tape for a snug fit so it can lift the arch and reduce the pressure on the plantar fascia.
- Apply sufficient tension while sticking the tapes for better effectiveness.
For detailed steps, refer to our article on how to wrap the foot for plantar fasciitis using an ace bandage.
This technique involves making an X shape on your feet using the athletic tape that stretches right from the bottom heel section of your feet to the top of your feet. A little stretching of the tape gives a better and snug-fitting while holding the arch up to reduce the impact on the plantar fascia.
You can look for a detailed technique here in our article on how to wrap the foot for plantar fasciitis using an ace bandage. You can also use a kinesiology tape for this that stretches better and is good for mild to moderate pain due to plantar fasciitis.
Alternatives to taping for plantar fasciitis
Many of us are not comfortable with the idea of tying a tape across our feet simply because it is too uncomfortable, impacts the blood circulation, and does not prove as effective if not tied properly. If you relate to any of the situations, these alternatives would prove to be helpful for plantar fasciitis:
Wearing supportive shoes for plantar fasciitis is one of the best ways to stay active all day without pressurizing your feet. It prevents your foot from feeling fatigued, bounces and radiates the energy back to the feet, and is well cushioned at the right places to provide ample arch support. Look for shoes that are APMA approved for plantar fasciitis here.
Massaging is an effective way of healing plantar fasciitis. Regularly massaging your feet by applying pressure on the plantar fascia with your thumb and rubbing it in uniform motion can help improve circulation and movement of the ligament.
You can also an automated massager that provides strong vibrations on the affected area, so much so, that it revives the injured ligament and causes the nerves to respond better to pain. You can check for some effective range of massagers for plantar fasciitis here.
Your podiatrist or therapist may recommend certain exercises or stretches to relax your calf muscles, your Achilles Tendons, and other connected joints and ligaments of the feet to stretch the plantar fascia. Regular stretching with appropriate massages and rest is way better than any supportive equipment in naturally healing pain due to plantar fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis has become a very prevalent foot associated disorder and is usually caused by long hours of standing or extreme pressure on the feet. While not much can be done to avoid unwanted trouble due to the pain, one can always take measures to reduce the impact on the feet and thereby improve their feet’ health in the long run.
One such effective technique that provides instant and temporary relief from pain due to plantar fasciitis is taping. It holds the plantar fascia ligament together in such a way that it prevents it from overstretching, thereby reducing the impact on it while walking or any physical activity.
This technique is commonly used by athletes or people who prefer combining it with supportive footwear for an extra layer of comfort and protection.
We have mentioned a detailed application process along with the different types of tapes available and the techniques used for applying these tapes.
Read our article above and tell us how you managed to get the taping right for your feet to relieve pain due to plantar fasciitis in 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.