Updated: Jun 16, 2021
There are a variety of ways to tape your foot. We have chosen to introduce 4 different ways. Depending on the stage/severity of the pain, body characteristics, and the sports you are participating in, you can modify the taping method. The idea is to use the least amount of tape to provide the necessary support and allow you to perform the sports you intend to do. Always know the purpose of why you need to tape.
Objectives: Reduce tension on the plantar fascia and inner arch structures/supporting the longitudinal foot arch.
Tape: 2.5 cm - 3.75 cm (1 inch - 1.5 inch) rigid sports tape depending on the size of your foot.
Apply the tape smoothly without any crease to prevent forming blisters.
This article is not intended to replace medical advice. Seek professional help if you encounter any problem during foot taping.
Metatarsal heads - metatarsal bones are the 5 long bones of the foot. The heads are located distally (closer to the tip of the toes).
Foot Taping I - LowDye Taping
Starting position: foot should be in a neutral position.
Apply the tape to the lateral (outside) border of the foot. Start just behind the head of the 5th metatarsal.
Bring the tape around the heel.
Support the 2nd to 5th toes with the thumb, depress the big toe with the index and middle fingers. Do not rotate the foot while doing this; keep the foot in a neutral position.
Secure the tape on the inner foot, just behind the head of the 1st metatarsal.
Put 2-3 tapes following the same procedures.
Tie-down with circumferential strips from the heel to the forefoot (behind the big toe ball). Cover 1/2 of the previous strip. Slightly pull the strips from lateral (outside) to medial (inside) of the foot. Put 3-5 strips depending on the size of your foot. Do not close the tapes; leave a gap on top of the foot.
Foot Taping II, alternative low dye taping:
Most people find this method provides adequate support without limiting too much movement.
Starting position: foot relax and neutral
Start the 1st anchor on the medial (inside) foot, behind the big toe's metatarsal head, go around the heel and apply on the lateral (outside) of the foot behind the 5th metatarsal head.
Apply the 2nd anchor underneath in the same way as the 1st anchor, cover 1/2 of the previous anchor.
Tie-down the longitudinal arch support strips starting from the center of the heel. Pull the strips from lateral (outside) to medial (inside) of the foot.
Cover 1/2 of the previous strips until the last strip sits behind the ball of the big toe.
Finish with a locking strip. Starting from the lateral (outside) of the foot (behind the 5th metatarsal head), go around the heel and come back on the inner side of the foot (behind the big toe's metatarsal head). Before you apply the tape to the big toe, bend it upwards to give extra support to the arch.
Put a gauze pad on the top of the foot.
Use a 5cm tape, circle around the foot covering the gauze. This makes sure the tapes stay in position. However, some people may find this too tight.
Foot Taping III Longitudinal arch support
This method provides a lot of support with more limitations in movement and requires more taping experience. Use it in practice sessions before you use it in the game or race.
Taping position: foot should be in a neutral position.
Apply 2 anchor strips circumferentially near the metatarsal head lightly, cover 1/2 of the previous strip. Leave a gap on top of the foot.
(It is easier to proceed with steps 2-4 with the subject lying face down.) Start the 1st tape on the medial (inner) side near the big toe's metatarsal head, go along the medial(inner) border and around the heel. Angle the tape, so it crosses the sole diagonally. Stop near the origin.
Start the 2nd tape on the lateral (outer) side near the 5th toe's metatarsal head; after it crosses the sole diagonally, angle the tape at the heel. Go to the lateral (outside) border of the foot, stop near the origin.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the whole sole is filled in, cover 1/2 of the previous strip.
Tie-down with circumferential strips from the heel to the forefoot (behind the big toe ball). Cover 1/2 of the previous strip. Slightly pull the strips from lateral (outside) to medial (inside) of the foot. Do not close the tapes; leave a gap on top of the foot.
Close the gap with tapes.
Optional: cut the heel strips with bandage scissors to prevent excessive tightness and forming blisters (this will lose some support).
Foot Taping IV: For a very tight plantar fascia
People with very tight foot/plantar fascia who would like to have some support are suitable for this method.
Starting position: Relax the foot and in a neutral position.
Put an anchor by circling around the forefoot with tape just under the ball of toes. The anchor should be loosely placed to prevent excessive tension.
Put another anchor on the middle of the heel. Wrapping the heel and putting the tape near the side of the Achilles tendon. Beware do not cross the Achilles tendon as it may cause too much rubbing.
Put 3 strips over the sole on the anchors: 1st strip on the medial (inside) foot; 2nd strip: on lateral (outside) foot, together they form a "V" shape. 3rd strip: vertically in the middle.
Put the 4th strip on the anchors to support the medial arch of the foot.
Put cover strips in the same way as the anchors to hold the tape in place.
Add a "teardrop" support to the medial arch:
Start the tape on the medial (inside) side of the foot near the big toe's metatarsal head, go behind the heel. Angle the tape and cross the sole diagonally. Come back to the medial (inner) border of the foot, stop near the origin.
Put 1 cover strip: only on the forefoot to hold the tape in place.
Check your taping:
Press the big toe until it turns pale, release, and blood flow should return straight away.
Check for any numbness or tingling sensation.
Run, jump, or do some sports-specific movement; the tape should support your foot without limiting your functional motion.
If the tapes are too tight and prevent circulation or make you feel uncomfortable. Cut it off with bandage scissors and redo the taping. Ask for help from a sports therapist if you have any doubt. Do not forget to treat the underlying problem.
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