Treat Your Plantar Fasciitis with Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape can be used to treat plantar fasciitis.
Place lift strips of kinesiology tape over your arch to treat plantar fasciitis.. Brett Sears, PT, 2014

If you are feeling foot pain or sharp pains on the underside of your heel, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation or irritation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue that runs from your heel to your toes and provides shape and stability to your foot's arch.

There are many different treatment modalities that your physical therapist may choose to use to help treat your plantar fasciitis.

 These may include ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or iontophoresis.  These treatments focus on managing the pain and inflammatory process that occurs with plantar fasciitis.

Focusing on and treating the biomechanics and underlying causes of your plantar fasciitis is essential to properly treating your condition.  Your physical therapist can help determine the cause of your foot pain and can prescribe the proper exercises and stretches to help you decrease your pain and improve your overall functional mobility.

Kinesiology tape is one treatment that your physical therapist may use to help provide relief from your plantar fasciitis.  The main goals of using kinesiology tape for plantar fasciitis include:

  • Decrease pain
  • Take pressure off of your plantar fascia
  • Support your foot's natural arch
  • Facilitate muscles surrounding your foot to provide more support

Applying Kinesiology Tape to Your Foot

Before applying kinesiology tape to your foot, be sure to speak to your physical therapist to ensure that you are applying the tape properly and that kinesiology tape is safe for you to use.

 Your physical therapist can help determine if your specific condition with plantar fasciitis is likely to benefit from using kinesiology tape.  Some people with specific medical conditions should not use kinesiology tape, so consult your PT or doctor before attempting to treat your plantar fasciitis with taping.

To apply the tape to your foot, you may need a friend to help you, and you should review the different types of tape strips necessary to use kinesiology tape.

Here is how you use kinesiology tape for plantar fasciitis:

  • Position your foot out in front of you and gently flex your foot and toes up towards your knee.
  • Apply a lift strip with 75% to 100% stretch to the bottom of your foot.
  • Secure the ends of the lift strips with no tension on the upper side of your foot.
  • Repeat this two to three more times with each strip slightly overlapping the previous one to ensure that your entire medial arch is covered.

Sometimes, an "I" strip can be used on the top of your foot to secure the ends of the lift strips so they do not peel away.

The kinesiology tape should be comfortable and should not be folded on the underside of your foot.  You can keep the tape on for 2 to 5 days, and the tape can get wet.

Be sure to monitor your skin around the kinesiology tape and watch for redness and itching which may indicate irritation or an allergic reaction to the tape.

 If this occurs, gently remove the kinesiology tape.

Your physical therapist may recommend using kinesiology tape on other muscles that surround your foot and ankle to help inhibit or facilitate those muscles that may be contributing to your plantar fasciitis.  Taping to your shin (anterior tibialis), calf, or posterior tibialis muscles may be necessary to fully treat your condition.

Remember, kinesiology taping is a relatively new treatment used in physical therapy and sports medicine, and its effects have not been fully evaluated.  Some early studies show that it can certainly help, while other studies conclude that kinesiology taping offers little or no added benefit to a physical therapy program.  Therefore, it is important to discuss kinesiology taping with your physical therapist to understand the expected outcomes and benefits associated with taping.

If you have foot and heel pain due to plantar fasciitis, you may benefit from kinesiology taping to help treat your condition.  The tape, along with the appropriate exercises and advice, can help you decrease or abolish your pain and improve your overall functional mobility.

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