When your Plantar Fasciitis flares up, you are willing to do almost anything to calm the inflammation and pain so you can get on with your daily life. There are stretches and home remedies that you can do, but you can also tape your feet for immediate relief. Taping is simple and can be done without the help of a professional. All you need to know is just a few things to get you started and your will be on your way to healthier, happier feet.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is located on the bottom of both of your feet. It is a shock absorber for when your feet, specifically for your arch. The plantar fascia conserves energy and gives you propulsion, sort of like a spring. When your plantar fascia becomes overworked or overstretched it becomes inflamed. This inflammation can cause pain. If you keep performing activities the plantar fascia can become torn, which is called micro tears. These micro tears cause extreme pain, making it harder for you to perform any activities.
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Who is at Risk?
Now that you know what Plantar Fasciitis is, you are probably wondering if you are at risk for this condition. Runners most commonly experience Plantar Fasciitis because of the strain put on the feet on a regular basis. Running on hard surfaces can also aggravate this condition as well as a rapid increase of intensity while you are training. Along with runners, dancers are also prone to experiencing Plantar Fasciitis for most of the same reasons. Dancing on hard floors, strain on the feet, and overworking all contribute to the inflammation of the plantar fascia.
Being pregnant or overweight can also contribute to Plantar Fasciitis. This is because more strain is placed on the plantar fascia because of the extra weight. The plantar fascia is designed to absorb shock, but it can be overworked during pregnancy or if you have gained weight.
Other things that can put you more at risk for Plantar Fasciitis include being between the ages of 40 and 60, as well as having poor foot mechanics. A high arch, being flat-footed, or having a poor walking pattern can put a strain on your plantar fascia. These can be aggravated even more if you are on your feet all day working. Hard surfaces wreak havoc on your feet, so if you do stand for your job, then it is a good idea to have supportive shoes.
The last thing that can hurt your feet are poor shoes. Not wearing the proper shoes for your feet can flare up your Plantar Fasciitis because your feet are not protected. Whether you are working, playing sports, or walking around your house, make sure you are wearing supportive footwear to help keep Plantar Fasciitis away.
Why Should You Tape?
Taping your feet can help relieve stress on the plantar fascia, which will ultimately reduce inflammation and pain. Taping also helps the healing process, which is essential if you have micro tears. Micro tears need time to heal, but they cannot do this if you are constantly on your feet and injuring them further. Taping protects your feet by limiting the amount it can stretch; therefore, preventing more micro tears from occurring and allowing the current ones to heal.
Does it Actually Work?
Yes, taping for Plantar Fasciitis can work depending on how you tape it and how severe your condition is. Taping before you do any type of physical activity can prevent the plantar fascia from becoming overstretched, which will reduce the chances of micro tears. Taping can also be done during the day while you go about your routine. To be effective, taping needs to be done correctly. If it is not done right, the plantar fascia can still be stretched and it will be like you do not have any tape on in the first place. On the other hand, if the tape is too tight, it can cut off circulation to your toes causing you to be extremely uncomfortable. Make sure the tape is not too loose or too tight for the tape to be most effective.
How to Tape with Athletic Tape
The first thing to remember about taping is do not leave it on all day and night because your skin needs time to breathe. Clean the area and thoroughly dry it before taping, this will help the tape adhere to your skin. You will need one inch to two inch athletic tape.
Longitudinal Arch Taping
First, cut two – one inch strips of the tape. You will also need four to six slightly wider strips. Place the one inch strips on the outside of your foot, from behind the small toe to the back of the heel, and then to the big toe. Essentially making a half circle on the outside of your foot.
Second, use the wider tape and put it on the bottom of the one inch strip, across the bottom of your foot, and ending on the other side of the one inch strip. Make sure to pull this tape snug, so as to get good support. In addition, overlap the tape a half of an inch on each side of the foot. Put these strips all the way across the bottom of your feet until you end up just behind the balls of your feet.
Third, after you have all the strips on the bottom of your feet, place another one inch piece of tape starting right behind your small toe all the way around your foot until you end up right behind your big toe. This is just like the first piece of tape you started with.
Why It’s Effective
Longitudinal arch taping is most effective to support the plantar fascia. This keeps it from overstretching, which helps to prevent micro tears as you walk, run, or perform your daily activities.
Low Dye Taping
First, make sure your foot is in a neutral position. Place a strip of one inch tape from the bottom of your big toe to just behind your pinkie toe. This is similar to the start of the previous taping technique.
Second, place a piece of tape from the bottom of the big toe to the bottom of your pinkie toe, which is across the bottom of your foot.
Third, take another strip of tape and place it from the bottom of your big toe all around your foot and back to the bottom of your pinkie toe.
Fourth, use another strip of tape and place it from just behind the pinkie toe, around your heel, and end up just behind the big toe.
Fifth, from the bottom of your pinkie toe, create a big X across the bottom of your foot. Do the same thing on the side just behind your big toe.
Sixth, finish taping your foot by putting a strip of tape across the bottom horizontally until the entire foot is covered.
Why It’s Effective
The low dye taping technique is best used for those who overpronate. It supports your foot and ankles as well as reduces the range of motion in your foot. In addition, it supports your plantar fascia to help it heal and relieve pain. This is the most supportive taping technique you can use for Plantar Fasciitis, it is also the most complicated.
Arch Brace Taping
Arch brace taping is one of the simplest forms of taping for Plantar Fasciitis. This method supports the longitudinal arch. All you have to do is wrap the tape around the middle of your foot, in the arch, to create a brace. The tape can be one to two inches thick, depending on the size of your foot. Make sure the entire arch is covered to create an effective brace.
Why It’s Effective
As you move through your gait, your arch may collapse if it does not have enough support. This puts strain on your plantar fascia, which can cause micro tears. Taping your arch adds stability to your foot, so it absorbs shock properly.
When taping your feet, remember to smooth out the tape as you go along. Your tape should not have any wrinkles in it because otherwise it will be uncomfortable and as not effective. Make sure you can still wiggle your toes and the circulation is not cut off to any part of your feet. If they start to turn blue, this is a good indication that the tape is too tight so you should take it off right away.
Taping is another method that can relieve the pain and inflammation of Plantar Fasciitis. You can use this in conjunction with other remedies, such as icing, rest, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Use high quality tape so adheres properly to your feet, and remember not to leave it on for too long. If the tape feels uncomfortable or is too tight, cut it off right away. The above is the ultimate taping guide so try a few different ways to find what helps your feet the most.