People who suffer from heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis) describe it as “a nail piercing your heel.” Most acute in the morning, it commonly eases as foot tendons “loosen” upon movement. Often, the pain doesn’t improve! As a runner and tennis player, I have suffered from the malady twice. I tried many of the suggested treatments–ice, rest, ibuprofen, orthodontics, braces, injections). As many of these treatments were temporary, I started experimenting with taping my heel before putting stress on it.
The technique worked for me personally, and I tried it on players and friends who also suffered from Plantar Fasciitis. It doesn’t always work. And I am not knocking other successful methods. But maybe this technique will be helpful for those when other techniques fail. My experience is that Plantar Fasciitis is not often a “college age” injury, and so there’s not much demand from college trainers to alleviate the pain. But it does affect many middle aged athletes and seniors–runners, walkers, golfers, tennis players, bikers, and so on.
Taping takes some skill and practice, so try it a couple of times. Here is the suggested technique for taping Plantar Fasciitis:
1. Wrap an “anchor” loop about 3-4 inches above the ankle.
2. Wrap a loop under the ankle, across the achilles tendon, and under the sole to create upward tension in the tape brace.
3. Anchor the tape around the lower calf.
4. Wrap a second loop in the opposite direction under the ankle, across the tendon, and under the sole … and anchor.
5. These two wraps should make an “X” over the injured area of the heel on the sole of the foot. Experiment with the placement and tension to alleviate the heel pain.
6. Repeat steps 2-4 twice, or as many times as needed.
A few notes:
– Don’t put the anchors so high that they restrict the toes – place them right above the ankle and about mid-foot.
– You may have to practice the wraps a few times as they are some what tricky and confusing. Don’t limit ankle flexion by taping too high up the foot – stay on the rim of the foot.
– Taping too high can also bind the achilles tendon. Don’t restrict ankle or achilles flexion.
– Use high quality athletic tape like Cramer.
In my experience the taped “X” and the lift it provides the arch keeps the damaged heel “spikes” from sticking into the flesh, and minimizes heel pain. I appreciate the feedback in the comments section.