Plantar Fasciitis Taping (February 2018)Introduction
Plantar fasciitis (PF) causes pain in the heel and bottom of foot that compels people to curtail their activities. Too often it becomes chronic: it gets better, the hopeful individual resumes some of their activities, and then it gets worse. Around and around they go. I’ve known people who have completely abandoned their cherished running routine because of their persistent fasciitis.
If you announce in a crowd that you have plantar fasciitis, people will come out of nowhere to tell you how to treat it because it is such a common condition. Rolling your foot on a tennis ball and making a frozen roller with water in a plastic bottle are the top recommendations. If you have plantar fasciitis, you undoubtedly have heard of these and other ways to treat it. Our experience is that these strategies rarely cure the problem. We believe that the only way to fix your persistent PF is by taping it the way that physical therapists and trainers do. We waited until the condition was completely gone, then began the stretching recommendations to further prevent recurrence.
Taping is hard to learn, tedious to do, and may require being taped 24/7 for weeks. We’ve handed more than one person the taping instructions for what we consider the cure, offered to show them how to do it, and they’ve declined. It’s an onerous task that they don’t want to take on.Resources
Because of copyright issues, we can’t reproduce the pages from our taping book “Illustrated Guide to Taping Techniques” by Austin, et al. It is currently out of print but copies are sometimes available. There is a newer edition that we haven’t seen that presumably has the PF taping information: "An Illustrated Guide to Taping Techniques Principles and Practices” by Hewetson, et al. Also, check online for “plantar fasciitis taping techniques” to see what free instruction is currently available. We are happy to loan our book to you if our paths regularly cross.
A Portland podiatrist maintains that it isn’t actually plantar fasciitis but plantar fasciosis. Our best guess is that both are true: that it starts as fasciitis and evolves to fasciosis over a period of years. You can read that discussion by following this link. https://www.nwfootankle.com/foot-health/drill/3-problems/31-plantar-fasciosis
. Dr McClanahan also has excellent videos accessible from his website on PF and other topics.
Consider making an appointment with a physical therapist, sports trainer, or other professional who is experienced with taping techniques. You can see how it is done, ask questions, and learn how it should feel, which will make your do-it-yourself project easier.The “How & Why” of Taping According to Bill
The general concept is that chronic plantar fasciitis persists because of recurrent micro trauma to the plantar fascia. Every time you take a step, the plantar fascia is stretched, which causes further harm to the already damaged tissues. Tape provides external support to the arch of the foot, not by pressing up into the arch like an orthotic does, but by connecting the ends of the arch together. Using tape to link the 2 ends of the arch limits the amount that the arch can stretch and flatten, thereby limiting the tugging on the plantar fascia (see diagram below).
The trick with taping is to get the tension just right. When walking, you should feel firm support from the tape but not discomfort. You should be able to walk comfortably with it taped. You adjust the tension by increasing or decreasing the amount of dorsiflexion (toes pointing towards shin) of the foot during taping.
To increase the tension when applying the tape, increase the plantar flexion (toes point away from shin); to decrease the tension, increase the dorsiflexion. Don’t change the tension by wrapping more or less loosely but by changing the foot flexion. The tape should be applied with slight snugness but no real tension. A good place to start is with the foot in neutral position—the position of the foot when relaxed.