How To: Taping for Plantar Fasciitis (and IT Band)
Before I begin this tutorial-like post, I’d like to say that this taping method has worked great for me in helping with Plantar Fasciitis (PF) and Iliotibial Band (Friction) Syndrome (ITBS). Obviously I am not a doctor but this method was taught to me by my doctor and a few of my friends have used this method and liked it.
It all started at the end of 2009 during my CIM marathon training. I suddenly felt a sharp pain around my right arch towards the heel of my foot. I remember getting mad at myself because that very same day I had decided to go against all my running experience and purchased the Nike Lunarglides on the day they came out. I knew those shoes probably weren’t the best for me and I didn’t get a gait analysis done before making the purchase. Every since that run until around LA Marathon (March) I dealt with that pain constantly only by then, I had developed this pain in both feet. The pain in my opinion was excruciating and not knowing what it was exactly not only intensified the pain but worried me constantly. It got to the point where I could not walk without seriously limping and I could no longer wear high heeled shoes or flats – only supportive shoes. Finally after enough complaining, a friend referred me to a DPM and almost immediately I was diagnosed with Plantar Fascitiis. What an ugly name right? Although I hated to confirm an injury, I was happy to have a diagnosis and to begin treatment.
My doctor was so great, I can’t even begin to tell you…He was concerned with my goals but told me we could treat the PF temporarily until I was ready to heal it with time off. The first thing the doctor suggested was getting running orthotics because of my high arches. Without proper support, my fascia was being (over) stretched and causing the irritation. He quickly took molds of my feet and my orthotics would arrive within a week or two. For the interim, he would show me how to tape my feet so I could do it before my runs. He also instructed me to ice in the morning, post-workout and before I went to bed, suggested that I take an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen) and sent me off with a list of suggested exercises and stretches – most notably running foot over a tennis ball to stretch the fascia. I didn’t really like taking ibuprofen (especially not everyday) so I swapped that out for a natural and safe product that worked quite nicely. Click Here for more information. Warning: Do not take Bromelain without first knowing about other drug interactions!
As a side note, immediately after CIM, I started having a lot of problems with my right IT band. The doctor also felt that because I wasn’t properly supporting my arches, they were caving in causing the IT band to pull and put pressure on the outside of my knee. I was really scared of this injury more than any other because it brought back painful memories of having to red-shirt my first cross country and track season of college. I was happy to hear that I could possibly help out both injuries with this one treatment!
I continued to tape and eventually my PF got better – not completely healed but I could notice the difference immediately. The ITB issue went away completely. Now I am not saying that this tape job was the answer because as you might already know, I took several weeks off after fracturing my metatarsal and that rest/recovery probably contributed to the final healing process. Taping just helped temporarily – resting is the best cure but as we all know, runners are crazy and we would rather feel that kind of pain than wait around for things to get better (I am also guilty of this).
To this day, I still incorporate taping into my schedule but mainly for long runs. I’d like to think of it as a preventative measure.
As I mentioned on Dailymile the other day, both myself and my boyfriend get asked a lot of questions about taping and we decided that we would put this together for the inquiring minds. Again, this may not work for you but it is definitely worth a try.
What you need:
- Athletic Tape ~$1.50 per roll; the generic
one you can buy at any sport store – brand is
- Spray Adhesive (optional)
1. Begin by spraying the areas you will be taping.
2. Keeping foot taut, begin add a long piece of tape
beginning at the top center of foot and over the heel.
Make sure there isn’t any slack and make sure you
do not first attach at the heel to the front –
this is VERY important.
3. Next, cut three pieces that will be placed over
your arch. The pieces will extend on each side
of the foot ~ 1-1.5″ Place the first one, slightly
over the heal and overlap the other pieces
approximately 1/4″ over the previous tape.
Hold the tape with both hands and step into
the tape like a stirrup so that you are
supporting your arches.
I usually repeat steps 2 and 3 for better support.
4. Prepare a long strip that will begin just below
the the bone that sticks out on the big toe side of your
foot. Take that piece all the way around and stop
just shy of the bone that sticks out on the outside
of your foot by your pinky. See photo below.
That’s it! It doesn’t look pretty
but who cares!
A Few Tips:
- Measure the strips as you tape your foot for the first time and write them down. This will help you tape faster in the beginning when it seems to take a little too long to get it done. Nowadays I don’t care about making sure it looks pretty, I just care about getting it done quickly.
- When taking off the tape, do not pull from the heel forward (just like in step #2). Seriously, don’t…
- Because I used to hate taping everyday, I would shower with a sock on my foot. After I was done showering, I would put on a clean sock to absorb the water. It prevented the tape from coming off in the shower and it kept the tape tight.
If you are experiencing PF or ITB, check out these links:
Hope this helps – let me know how it works for you!
*I forgot to mention that I did get the orthotics and even had a second pair made but I chose taping over wearing them. I didn’t like having the extra insert in my shoes and I didn’t have the patience to get used to them. In the end I am glad I stuck with the tape because I am slowing weening myself off taping completely. Before I would tape all the time, then I began to tape only for track, tempo and long runs. Now I only tape for long runs.