As someone who struggles with plantar fasciitis, I know what it’s like to go through so many treatment options and wonder which one will be most effective. There’s night splints, orthotic inserts, arch support socks, even ankle braces. It’s enough to make your head spin.
Well, I don’t want to make your head spin. I just want to help you find a remedy for your plantar fasciitis pain. One of the ways I’ve found most effective is plantar fasciitis taping to support the foot throughout the day, and even through the night.
Today I’m going to share with you how using tape can be a real game changer when it comes to healing your heel pain.
Table of Contents
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is the name of a painful foot condition caused by swelling and tears in the ligament known as the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick, flat band of ligament tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. The plantar fascia has the important job of supporting the arch of your foot.
Overstressing the plantar fascia over time can cause tiny tears in the fascia fibers, which is the source of plantar fasciitis pain. These tears cause the arch of the foot to become weak, inflamed, and swollen.
Plantar fasciitis is most common in people who overpronate (roll in towards their arches when standing or walking), those with high arches or flat feet, and those who are overweight. People who engage in activities that put a lot of strain on their feet such as running, standing, or dancing, especially on hard surfaces, can also develop plantar fasciitis. Taking dance classes, many barefoot, is how I developed mine at the young age of 14.
Does Taping the Plantar Fascia Help?
Taping the plantar fascia stabilizes the ligament. It limits the amount of movement and stretching the fascia can do, thus preventing overstretching.
You can tape your plantar fascia for your regular day-to-day or work activities. Those who engage in high impact sports will find taping the plantar fascia particularly helpful as it gives extra support where it’s needed and prevents straining of the ligament.
There have been varied success rates when it comes to the effectiveness of plantar fasciitis taping. Many people find that it is not enough to just tape the arches to heal plantar fasciitis long term.
Taping for plantar fasciitis is best known as a short-term remedy for heel pain. Granted, it is a short-term remedy that is used day-to-day to ensure that more damage is not done to the heel. But taping is best used with other forms of treatment- orthotics, supportive shoes, etc.- for the best results. Other treatments include shoes for plantar fasciitis, supportive orthotics, and night splints.
What Kind of Tape to Use for Plantar Fasciitis
Athletic/medical tape can be used if you’re looking for something to ease your pain short term. Athletic tape can get the job done, but is not made to treat plantar fasciitis specifically. This kind of tape should not be left on for more than 8 hours during the day since it does not allow the skin to breathe. Athletic/medical tape can be found in drug stores and most sports stores.
The best tape for plantar fasciitis is Kinesiology Tape, otherwise known as KT tape. KT tape is lightweight and comfortable and made specifically to provide support in the areas you need it most. Many people use it not only for plantar fasciitis, but also for other common ailments like knee pain, shin splints, and carpal tunnel.
KT tape creates neuromuscular feedback, which relaxes or facilitates the better firing of tendons and muscles. It is made of reinforced 100% cotton sheathes for durability and provide consistent support without restricting the free range of motion.
KT tape is also different from medical tape in that it can be worn for days at a time. This is because the Matrix Mesh material is porous enough that it releases moisture and allows the skin to breathe. KT tape can be worn up for up to five days without removal, through water and sweat and anything else you throw at it.
KT tape is flexible and strong, making it ideal for providing support and stability in the arches. With proper taping techniques, you’ll find that you don’t need to use very much to get the job done. And since this tape can last for days at a time through sweat and water, it is a more economical choice overall.
How to Tape Foot for Plantar Fasciitis
There are a few ways that you can apply tape to provide support in your arches. Any way that you choose should give you plenty of support in the arch area of your foot. The tape should not be wrapped too tightly as to cause lack of blood circulation, and should not be wrapped too loosely as to be useless in providing support.
The simplest way to tape the foot is by taping an X shape over the plantar fascia ligament. The strips of tape should be about 4 inches in length, depending on the size of your foot. The center of the X should be placed where your plantar fascia is or where you feel the most pain. After taping the X, place additional strips of tape horizontally on top of the X to secure the X.
Another way to tape the foot is using KT tape. You’ll just need 3 strips of KT tape.
1. Place ankle and foot in a flexed position.
2. The first strip of the tape: Apply the anchor point in the center of the ball of the foot directly underneath the toes. Applying 50% stretch, pull the tape all the way down the bottom center of the foot, ending the tape at the back of the Achilles tendon.
3. The second strip of the tape: Anchor the tape about 2 inches above the inside ankle, measuring to ensure the tape will wrap all the way around the bottom of the heel (where your plantar fascia is) to the other side of your ankle. After adhering the anchor point of the strip to the ankle bone, apply 80% stretch and wrap the tape right over where the plantar fascia ligament hits.
4. Last strip of tape: Anchor this last strip of tape just behind and at a slightly steeper angle than the one you just placed (second strip). Apply 80% stretch after adhering the tape to the ankle bone. The tape should wrap around the arch of the foot slightly lower than your second strip, and should end at the other side of your ankle.
Make sure to wash your feet well before applying any tape. Those who use KT tape should make sure to press the tape firmly into the skin and apply some friction and heat by rubbing the tape on the skin. This will ensure it stays on the skin for as long you need.
You can tape your arches in the daytime or at night. Taping at night can help minimize the dreaded heel pain felt in the morning. Taping throughout the day can help your feet stay strong and mobile while avoiding excessive straining on the ligament.
Taping feet for plantar fasciitis paired with other treatments can mean the end of that pesky heel pain. You can stop worrying about your feet and start worrying more about the important things in your life.
If you thought taping was something only athletes do, I hope to have opened your eyes to the ways that taping can speed up your healing process, provide support and stability, and ease your pain. Share with me the ways that you like to use tape to add support to your arches.