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Calcaneal taping: Part 2

Calcaneal taping: Part 2

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI

In my previous post, I explained the role of the arches and how the calcaneus (the heel bone) plays a role in creating those arches.  A physiotherapist can assess the structure of your foot and determine what the cause of your heel or foot pain can be.  Sometimes it can be due to a decreased arch from a rotated calcaneus (rearfoot eversion / pronation).

In addition to stretching the muscles around the ankle and foot and correcting any flexibility issues, tape can be used to correct the calcaneal rotation and increase the arch of the foot.  The purpose of the taping would be to decrease the amount of stress on the plantar fascia and thereby decrease the inflammation and relieve the symptoms.

The four strip method described by Hyland, et al corrects the calcaneal alignment.¹ With rearfoot eversion, the calcaneus is usually leaning inward.  This everted position decreases the mechanical ability for the foot to accept and disperse force, meaning that it’s not in a great position to bear your weight.  When it’s in this poor position, it’s very common to have pain in the heel or bottom of your foot.

The tape is applied to the rear of the foot and pulls the calcaneus into an inverted and supinated position using only four strips.  Generally with other foot taping techniques, multiple strips are used, sometimes over 20-30.  This presents as a time consuming intervention that may or may not work for the patient.  Hyland found that one could use only four strips and sufficiently control the rear foot and calcaneus to correct the positional faults and increase the arch of the foot.  This makes it very quick and time efficient to correct the positional faults and see immediate results.

After the tape correction, the patient can perform exercises pain-free.  The other part of addressing the foot and heel pain is to correct any flexibility and strength deficits that may be causing limitations with mobility and weight-bearing.

A physiotherapist at Professional Physical Therapy and Training can evaluate your foot and alignment and decide if you need taping or another intervention to address your pain issues.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices our located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

1. Hyland MR, Webber-Gaffney A, Cohen L, et al. Randomized controlled trial of calcaneal taping, sham taping, and plantar fascia stretching for the short-term management of plantar heel pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2006 Jun;36(6):364-71.

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