Taping for Plantar Fasciitis – How to Guide

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common inflammatory conditions that appear in the general population, involving a part of the lower limb (the foot). It is considered that there are a number of factors that contribute to the appearance of such problems, including high BMI (obesity) and excess pronation of the foot.

Medical specialists have proposed a number of conservative treatments for the management of plantar fasciitis, including night splints, orthotic inserts, and taping. The latter represents one of the most efficient methods of improving the symptoms experienced by the patient who suffers from plantar fasciitis, as you will also have the opportunity to read in the paragraphs below.

Low-dye taping, an efficient conservative treatment

According to a study[1] regarding the treatment of plantar fasciitis, low-dye taping is more efficient when used in combination with iontophoresis. It seems that taping can provide the longitudinal arch of the foot with the support it needs, thus improving the overall symptomatology experienced by the patient. The study confirmed that the plantar pressure during gait is reduced, especially at the level of the midfoot.

The low-dye taping was applied in a specific manner, right below the ankle. The main idea was to correct the excess pronation of the foot, by creating a supinating opposing force (subtalar joint). The application of the kinesiology tape has been clearly demonstrated to reduce the amount of pressure on the plantar fascia, not only in standing but also during walking. The tape has practically increased the mechanical stability of the foot, allowing the strained plantar fascia to recover.

In patients who suffer from plantar fasciitis, low-dye taping is an efficient conservative treatment and one that delivers almost immediate results upon being enforced. The good news is that it can be applied in both acute and chronic cases of plantar fasciitis.

Tape should be applied not only on the plantar fascia

Many specialists have analyzed the effects of kinesiology taping on patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. In a study[2] published online, in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, it was determined that the application of tape might be able to correct the abnormal movements of the foot. However, the tape was not applied only on the plantar fascia but also at the level of the gastrocnemius muscles.

Kinesiology taping can be used to facilitate recovery in patients who suffer from such inflammatory conditions, as it can be used to reduce the pulling force on the plantar fascia.

The patients who took part in the study had their pain intensity assessed, before and after the application of the tape. The fascia thickness, as well as any structural changes, were assessed with the help of ultrasonography. According to the results of the study, both the pain intensity and the thickness of the plantar fascia were reduced through the application of kinesiology taping.

The right technique of application is extremely important, as well as the correct selection of the taping site. The pulling direction and the pulling force are also essential for treating the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. The tape was applied, as already mentioned, on both the plantar fascia and the calf muscles; the application intended to create a pulling force on the plantar flexor muscles and thus reduce the pressure on the plantar fascia.

Kinesiology taping is to be considered an efficient conservative treatment for patients who plantar fasciitis, as it can reduce the repetitive injuries to the plantar fascia and allow the soft tissues to recover and repair themselves. It can also stimulate local circulation, facilitating the reduction of inflammation and nourishment with the oxygen of the plantar fascia. As the study has clearly shown, kinesiology taping can reduce the thickening of the plantar fascia, particularly at the insertion site.

Kinesiology taping, a method to reduce plantar fascia thickness

According to a study[3] published in the Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, kinesiology taping could be used to reduce plantar fascia thickness and thus improve the overall symptomatology experienced by patients with plantar fasciitis. This form of therapeutic intervention can reduce the intensity of plantar pain and guarantee an improved level of functioning in such patients. Moreover, it is easy to use, affordable, and readily accessible.

As the researchers conducting this particular study point out, the tape can mimic the skin’s elasticity and create a pulling force that corrects any deviations of the foot (such as overpronation). Apart from that, it can improve the overall functioning of the local muscles and even increase kinesthetic awareness. The regular application of kinesiology tape can reduce the existent pressure at the level of soft tissues; moreover, the tape can stimulate blood and lymph circulation.

All the participants in the study had their fascial thickness measured with the help of musculoskeletal ultrasonography. At the same time, the pain intensity was measured with the help of a pain rating scale (subjective assessment). The study concluded that the application of kinesiology tape can decrease the plantar fascia thickness; however, in order for the results to be maintained, the applications have to repeat on a long-term basis.

It was also concluded that the application of tape could improve sports-related performance, as opposed to the one related to activities of daily living. Taping remains an excellent conservative treatment for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis; it has the advantage of being easy to learn and apply, plus it can reduce the intensity of pain and guarantee an improved level of functioning for most patients.

Fascia unloading through taping

In a study[4] published by researchers from Australia, in the International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training, kinesiology taping was discussed as a technique to obtain fascial unloading. This concept can be defined as a reduction of the tension existent in the layers of the plantar fascia, this tension is caused by specific movements and their subsequent mechanical loads (with influence on soft tissues, such as the plantar fascia).

The study demonstrated that the prolonged contraction of connective tissues, plantar fascia included, plays a definite role in the appearance of musculoskeletal pain (acute or chronic). The main problem behind plantar fasciitis is repetitive movement, which ultimately leads to the thickening and/or shortening of the plantar fascia (superficial and deep). While this offers stability and muscle power, it also causes the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, such as heel pain.

Plantar fasciitis is often encountered in professional athletes, such as runners. As they engage in repetitive movements, the plantar fascia begins to shorten and also to become thicker. As such changes are subtle at first, when stretching exercises are performed, the plantar fascia is inadequately lengthened and enters into a dysfunctional state, with a high risk of tearing. The more quickly these stretches are performed, the bigger the susceptibility for microtears is going to be.

The application of kinesiology taping in patients with plantar fasciitis can alleviate the pain experienced at the level of the heel. This is because of fascial unloading, which means a reduction of the mechanical stress present at the level of the plantar fascia and surrounding soft tissues.
The tape is applied in a specific manner so that convolutions at the level of the skin are created. In this way, the interstitial spaces between the various plantar fascia layers are increased.

Upon receiving taping applications, patients experience a reduction of pain intensity, less stiffness and an improved range of motion in the affected joints. The pain relief is guaranteed by the reduction of the overall mechanical load, which can affect the nerve endings of the plantar fascia as well.

The physical therapist will position the foot in a stretched position, as this is ideal for the application of the kinesiology tape. Upon returning to its normal position, skin convolutions are going to be visible in the area of the application. The tape application is also meant to stimulate the blood and lymph circulation in the area, unloading the plantar fascia and reducing the overall experienced pain at the same time. The kinesiology tape is extremely effective, reaching even the deep layers of the plantar fascia and reducing its susceptibility to microtears.

Final word

If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, the application of kinesiology tape can help you feel better. You can easily learn to apply the tape yourself, enjoying the pain relief it brings. At the same time, taping can help you improve your overall range of motion and forget all about stiffness or other similar problems caused by plantar fasciitis.

Unlike other treatments or interventions recommended for plantar fasciitis, taping does not have any major contraindications or side effects to worry about. It is highly effective, cost-efficient, and easily accessible. As it was already mentioned, it can reduce the mechanical stress on the plantar fascia, improving your symptomatology. It works even better when combined with other conservative treatments, such as myofascial release, iontophoresis, or massage therapy. It is important to understand that taping does not suffice as a treatment for plantar fasciitis; you need to try out various combinations of therapies and treatments, in order to identify which one works best for your own individual needs.

[1] http://medind.nic.in/jau/t13/i1/jaut13i1p34.pdf
[2] https://performance.nd.edu/assets/114723/kt_and_plantar_fascia.pdf
[3] http://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/kinesio-tex-tape-valuable-conservative-treatment-for-plantar-fasciitis-2165-7025-1000271.pdf
[4] http://www.accelr8rehab.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Kinesiotape-Fascia-Unloading.pdf