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Foot and heel pain is a common diagnosis treated by physical therapists. Diagnoses include plantar fasciitis, Achille’s tendonitis, posterior tibialis tendonitis, and more. One of the treatment methods used is Kinesiology tape to help provide support and comfort to the foot at various points depending on the location of the pain. Kinesiology tape can provide temporary relief of foot pain, but you will want to follow up with other exercises and treatments to address the root cause of your pain. Always seek medical advice from your physician or physical therapist prior to attempting these treatment methods.

What is Kinesiology Tape?

Kinesiotape is a very flexible high-grade cotton medical tape first developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase from Japan. The tape was designed with the famous fingerprint wave pattern that can help lift the skin to create space between the skin and tissue layers. The tape can help relieve discomfort, inflammation, and swelling. Kinesiotape is the brand name, but there are many other types of kinesiology tape on the market as well.

Disclaimer

Although I am a physical therapist by profession, I am not your physical therapist.  This information is for educational purposes only, it does not constitute medical advice and does not establish any kind of therapist-patient relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.

Precautions & Things to Know Before Using Kinesiology Tape

  • Prep your skin – make sure it is clean and dry and free from lotions
  • Do not tape over any open wounds
  • Tape can last 3 to 5 days however if any redness or discomfort occurs, remove promptly
  • The adhesive is heat activated, so rubbing helps the tape to adhere and to withstand sweating, showering and swimming
  • Always round the edges to help the tape
  • With pregnancy, your skin stretches and can become more sensitive, again remove if your skin becomes irritated
  • Always leave an anchor of 1 inch on either side of tape application that is not stretched for better durability

What & Where to Buy?

In the clinic, I always use Kinesiotape brand tape, however Rock Tape, KT Tape, and SpiderTech are other good options. You can purchase pre-cut tape, but buying a roll of tape gives you greater customization and flexibility (and less wasting).

Depending on where your pain is, there are different taping patterns to help address your specific pain. Read more below on each taping option to determine the best fit for you.

Taping for Arch Support

Plantar fasciitis is a common diagnosis for foot pain. Pain associated with plantar fasciitis can be near the bottom of your heel or closer to the middle of your foot.

This taping pattern is great to provide extra support and comfort to the arch of your foot. You can use one strip of tape, or even double up and use two pieces of tape to cover more of the arch.

  • Measure the tape and cut to wrap around the bottom of your foot
  • Start anchor (unstretched tape) at the outside of your foot and place
  • Gently stretch the tape across the bottom of your foot
  • Place second anchor at the middle of your foot

Taping for Heel Pain

Achille’s tendonitis is caused by a repetitive strain on the Achille’s tendon. Typically the pain is present on the back of the heel and can extend up the back of your lower leg.

If your pain is focused at the back of your heel, this is a great taping pattern to try.

  • Measure the tape from your heel to your calf and a second piece for across the back of your heel
  • Start the anchor at the bottom of your foot on your heel
  • Gently stretch the tape up the back of your leg and end at the calf
  • Leave second anchor unstretched at the back of your calf
  • For second piece of tape, rip the tape in the center, and hold an anchor at each end
  • Stretch the middle of the tape and place across the back of your heel
  • Leave anchors unstretched at the inside and outside of your heel

Taping for Pain on the Inside of Your Heel

Posterior tibialis tendonitis is common with high-impact sports, people with flat feet, and with foot injuries. Typically pain presents on the inside of your heel and can extend up the inside of your leg.

If the pain is located on the inside of your heel, you can try this taping pattern to help reduce the pain.

  • Measure the tape from the outside of your foot, across your heel, to the inside of your leg
  • Place first anchor at the outside of your heel
  • Gently stretch the tape across the bottom of your foot extending to the inside of your leg
  • Place second anchor at the inside of your lower leg

Removing the Tape

The tape can be used for 3-5 days as long as there is no skin irritation. If it starts to peel back, you can trim the edges of the tape or try to smooth it out again. If you want to remove it, you can use baby oil to help break down the adhesive, let it soak in for a few minutes, and peel back slowly. You can also try removing it directly after a shower when it is softened. Remove any excess adhesive with oil.