Foot taping refers to the application of strapping taping to the bottom of the foot. The aim of this treatment is to reduce the strain or stretch of some tissues on the bottom of the heel (see What is the cause of my heel pain).
Often with this treatment, people experience an immediate reduction in pain with application of the tape. However, this effect does not tend to last as the tape stretches over a few days. The tape can be re-applied if you find this treatment works well for you.
How is it applied?
There are many different methods of applying tape to the bottom of the foot for plantar heel pain. A health professional (such as a podiatrist or physiotherapist) can show you the method that they believe will be the best for you. If you feel confident, you may be able to re-apply this tape yourself.
The following video demonstrates one method used to apply foot taping.
Foot taping is a very safe treatment.
Some people who have allergies to zinc-oxide taping (for example, if you get a rash from Bandaids or strapping tape), may experience an allergic reaction to the tape that is usually used for this treatment.
To reduce the likelihood of skin irritation, it is recommended that the tape is changed frequently (e.g. every 24-48 hours) and excessive amounts of tape are not placed across the top of the foot (avoid wrapping tape over the top of the foot).
A health professional can apply hypo-allergenic tape beneath the strapping tape to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation.
There is evidence to support the use of foot taping to reduce pain in the short term (a few weeks to a month). Currently, there is evidence to suggest that:
- taping is better than control
- taping is better than stretches
- taping plus stretching is better than stretching alone
Links to research
- Radford JA, Landorf KB, Buchbinder R, Cook C. Effectiveness of low-Dye taping for the short-term treatment of plantar heel pain: a randomised trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006;7: 64. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-7-64
- Hyland MR, Webber-Gaffney A, Cohen L, Lichtman SW. Randomized controlled trial of calcaneal taping, sham taping, and plantar fascia stretching for the short-term management of plantar heel pain. J Orthop Sport Phys Ther. 2006;36: 364–371. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2006.2078
- Landorf KB, Radford JA, Keenan A-M, Redmond AC. Effectiveness of low-Dye taping for the short-term management of plantar fasciitis. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. The American Podiatric Medical Association; 2005;95: 525–530. doi: 10.7547/0950525