Plantar Fasciitis is the pain that you feel on the heel area of your foot. The cause of the pain is when the connective tissue between the heel bone and the toes called Plantar Fascia gets inflamed.
This explains the pointy feeling whenever you are walking which in severe cases can extend up to even when the foot is rested.
What causes it?
There are a number of reasons a person may have Plantar Fasciitis. A person’s daily regimen, nutrition, or even their walking habits can all be contributors to heel pain.
An active lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean healthy feet as people in their 40s all the way to their 70s are at higher risk especially for runners. People who work blue collar jobs are also at risk especially those who carry heavy cargo or equipment.
What happens is that the Plantar Fascia becomes subjected to repetitive stress. This is why people who carry excess weight also become prone to Plantar Fasciitis.
Another cause is that Bone Spurs, brought by excess calcium deposits form in the heel area. These heel spurs poke through the connective tissue causing inflammation thus, Plantar Fasciitis.
What are the common treatments for Plantar Fasciitis?
Usually, rest and weight management are the best ways to prevent Plantar Fasciitis from happening. However, there can be times where corrective surgery is needed to avoid inflammation.
There are a number of ways to treat Plantar Fasciitis such as:
1. Plantar Fasciitis Taping
This constricts the movement of the foot’s connective tissue by providing the right amount of support where tightness occurs.
2. Orthotic footwear
It is important to consider buying shoes with low heels and arch support to avoid straining the Plantar Fascia. Choose function over style; however, some brands offer style but are still Plantar Fasciitis-friendly like Brooks and New Balance.
There are also companies that specifically cater to people with Plantar Fasciitis and Morton’s Neuroma. Brands like OrthoFeet, Vionic, and Ziera are specifically designed to relieve heel pain.
The most important takeaway is to get the right shoes for plantar fasciitis.
3. Stretching exercises
One way to make sure that the muscle that connects your heel bone and toes stays warm is by way of stretching exercises. Stretching the Plantar Fascia before subjecting it to the grind of daily life lessens the chance of it becoming too strained.
Toe and towel stretches are the common exercises done to treat Plantar Fasciitis. Stretching exercises can also be done at the end of the day to cool down.
4. Active Release Techniques or ART
Active Release Techniques or ART is designed to locate the stress or irregularities are in the muscle fibers. The therapist then releases the tension by hand with each muscle group having a specific release technique
ART promotes muscle recovery and injury prevention as well as locating the source of inflammation.
5. Graston Technique
This technique is similar to ART but is done with the use of stainless steel tools. This provides more tension when performing the release.
This serves the same purpose as ART is in restoring the muscle’s normal function.
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that can be used to assist with plantar fasciitis. Needles get inserted into various pressure points of the body. It is said to relieve heel pain by temporarily reducing it.
The treatment is said to have a 97% success rate as a temporary solution for heel pain in Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis Taping: Does it work?
First, let us talk about how taping started. This technique has been used since the 1970s when Kenzo Kase, a Chiropractor introduced it as a form of treatment.
The practice of taping was made famous when Volleyball player Kerri Walsh set the trend at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The purpose primarily is to serve as support in order to either avoid injury or support a lingering one.
Today, athletes from all types of sports both amateur and professional have embraced the practice of taping. Even hobbyists have their muscles taped after a hard workout session or to recover.
Taping actually helps speed up the recovery process of the muscle as it loses its elasticity due to overuse. It's essential to know the right taping technique depending on which muscle group you wish to apply it on.
It is considered an alternative due to its price and convenience of having it around with you. It is also recommended especially when one cannot visit a therapist regularly.
The problem though is that the amount of tension may vary as to who applies the tape. In the case of Plantar Fasciitis, the purpose is to provide the same amount of support and compression that orthotic footwear gives.
Those who apply the tape themselves should understand the correct Plantar Fasciitis taping techniques. An expert can understand the anatomy and biomechanics better.
So how does taping help in Plantar Fasciitis?
The fact that taping is affordable and easy to do is already a huge help for people who have to deal with Plantar Fasciitis on a day-to-day basis. Though taping is considered a temporary or preventive measure, it is best to accompany it with other forms of treatment.
Taping provides a similar remedy as wearing compression socks. The two aren't the same though, but the purpose of both is to limit the strain put on the Plantar Fascia by controlling its range in motion.
What are the different ways to tape?
There are three different Plantar Fasciitis taping techniques namely Kinesio Taping or KT Taping, Low-Dye Taping or LDT, and Calcaneal taping. Each has its own purpose and function as well as Plantar Fasciitis taping instructions.
Kinesio Taping or KT Taping
This taping method is used to support muscles and joints, including the Plantar Fascia. Its elasticity gives the muscle a slight pull which makes lymphatic drainage possible.
How to apply:
1. Cut four thin strips of tape with its length depending on the distance of your heel to the ball of the foot.
2. Cut a bigger amount if needed depending on the measurement of the ball of the foot.
3. Be sure to round the edges of each tape.
4. Place the four thin strips along the arches of your foot followed by the bigger one on the ball of the foot.
5. Secure the tape by rubbing it gently through the taped area using your hands.
Low-Dye Taping or LDP Taping
This taping method provides proper arch support by neutralizing excess tension. It serves the same purpose as a night splint or day brace except that it only involves taping the arch and outsides of the foot.
How to apply:
1. Place strips of athletic tape around the first to the fifth metatarsal of the foot and wrap it with several layers.
2. Wrap a strip starting from the bigger toes passing around the heel and on to the small toe.
3. Wrap another strip but this time, start from the smaller toes all the way to the bigger one.
4. Repeat step 3 and four several times for added support. The tape should look like an X along the heel area.
5. Add strips of tape to close the gaps and serve as reinforcement.
This taping method uses medical tape to neutralize the alignment and placement of the foot by inverting the calcaneus.
How to apply:
1. Cut four strips of tape depending on the length of the borders of your foot
2. Apply the first taping on the outer and inner edge of the foot with sufficient tension.
3. Repeat this process for 3-4 times and avoid getting the tape wrinkled.
4. Apply the second taping across the heel starting level with the ankle, going across the outside and inside of the foot.
5. Let each strip of tape overlap and keep going up until before the ball of the foot.
6. Apply a final layer of tape across the top and midfoot to secure (do not encircle with tape to allow the foot to breathe).
What kind of tape to use for Plantar Fasciitis?
The kind of tape to be used for Plantar Fasciitis will depend on either your budget or what the doctor recommended.
Kinesio tape is the one that is widely used due to its elasticity and ability to simulate muscle fiber tension. Mueller Tape is another option if you choose to opt for a sturdier one.
It is best to consult an expert first before you decide what kind of tape to use for Plantar Fasciitis as it may depend on the severity of the inflammation on your foot.
Overall, Plantar Fasciitis taping is an effective treatment but should not be heavily relied on. It sure is a quick fix especially when you have budget constraints, but the best results are brought about by accompanying it with other types of treatment.