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Taping has helped

Posted by Jim C. on 11/19/02 at 20:34 (100697)

Having very little pain the past months, I have taped daily the past 8 or9 days to try and get to the last bit of healing, and it has been very effective.

The past four days I have been 100% pain free, no twinges, I'm even pain free to the touch(that's a first). Now I have had pain free days before, but I could never manage more than one at a time, I always had some little pain that let me know my PF was still lingering around ready to pounce if I didn't take care.

I'm not proclaiming myself cured as I'm sure as soon as I over do it, it will let me know very quikly where my boundries are. I do plan on continuing my daily regimine of taping, night splint and stretching for a long time to come!

I have used tape sparsely in the past, but it always irritated my feet to where I had to stop. I think part of the problem was I had a long time fungus problem that weakened the skin(tiny little holes), causing it to tear easily. The last time I taped I literaly riped skin from my foot! Afterwards the skin flaked and fell off, 'seemingly curing my fungus problem.' Now I don't seem to have as bad of a problem removing the tape. I also learned that less is better, by accident I learned that one strip seems to work fine for me, making removal far easier.

Also, getting the tension just right has been very helpful. Before I would planter flex(toes pointing down) my foot when applying the tape, trying to get maximun tension, but also pulling very hard on my skin, thus contributing to my irritation. I now apply the tape with my foot in a nuetral or slightly dorsiflexed position, greatly increasing my comfort level. You just don't need alot of tension for taping to be effective! And this will help in using tape long term.

For those of you suffering and not taping 'Get on the bandwagon' especialy those who have to be on thier feet at all. In my experience, this is a very effective treatment. If I had to recomend just one treatment, tape would be heads and shoulders above anything else.

PS. I just realized I have not taken any ibruprofen all week!

Jim

Re: Taping has helped

Carole C in NOLA on 11/19/02 at 21:01 (100699)

Jim, that is wonderful. I'm not sure if John and Julie have told you about Leuko tape, but apparently it is less likely to rip the skin off your feet and it is available through the internet.

You are right that you are not cured yet... that takes time, but you are in a lot less pain and that's making great headway! Congratulations. :)

Carole C

Re: Taping has helped

Sharon W on 11/19/02 at 22:22 (100706)

WONDERFUL!

Re: Taping has helped

Julie on 11/20/02 at 03:12 (100718)

Thank you very much for posting this, Jim. As you know, I'm a committed taper, and I'm glad you've found it possible to tape daily and that it has helped. Go easy now, though - it sounds as though you're exactly at the point where you could be tempted to overdo. That wouldn't be the end of the world: you'd probably find that you recover more quickly from setbacks, and that, too, is an identifiable part of the healing process. But I hope you won't have too many setbacks and that this really is the 'last bit' of healing for you.

Did you manage to find the Leuko tape?

Your advice to 'get on the taping bandwagon' is very good, and I hope others will get taping too. As I said to you, it was certainly one of the main planks in my recovery, and I've always wished more PF sufferers would do it. The tape simply takes over from the injured, weakened fascia to provide the support for the arch that the fascia can no longer give. It's a real lifesaver.

And yes, the tension needs to be right, and it takes a bit of time and experimentation to get it right. I'm not surprised you found it too tight and irritating when you were plantarflexing your foot! Even neutral was too tight for me, and gentle dorsiflexion was what worked. But everyone needs to find the right tension for themselves: too tight and it can be painful (you feel that the moment you stand up), too loose and it won't be effective.

If anyone else wants to try, please remember that the tape does need to be removed each night so that the skin can recover. The skin weakens and softens if it's left on, particularly if it gets west.

Lighter fluid will easily remove any residue left on the skin. (There are said to be solutions that you can spray on before applying the tape that make it easier to remove, without leaving residue, but I never came across them.)

Re: Taping has helped

monte on 11/20/02 at 07:30 (100728)

i tape everyday...but across my arches with about 5-6 pieces of tape. I think this is called the Low Dye method. Is the toe to heel method better? Sounds quicker.

Re: Taping has helped

Shawn p on 11/20/02 at 08:21 (100731)

Shouldn't orthodics be a substitute for taping?

Re: Taping has helped

Julie on 11/20/02 at 11:32 (100740)

Monte, you could try the toe to heel method, which makes sense to me because it follows the line of the arch and the plantar fascia. But if the low dye method is working for you, why change?

Re: Taping has helped

Julie on 11/20/02 at 11:38 (100741)

Most of the posts from the doctors here have said that taping, if effective and helpful, is an indication that custom orthotics are called for and will probably be more helpful, and that once you have the orthotics tape is no longer needed.

My personal experience is that each was helpful individually, but that I got the most support and help from the two together. (In England we would call this the 'belt and braces' method.)

I think we also need to consider that not all custom orthotics work. If they haven't been prescribed by a podiatrist who has accurately evaluated one's biomechanics, and if they haven't been skilfully casted, properly made, and correctly adjusted, they may be unwearable and end up in the drawer. Whereas tape, if it helps, doesn't have these variables.

Re: Taping has helped

monte on 11/20/02 at 12:00 (100746)

not sure if the low dye method is helping much. it doesn't really shorten the fascia like the heel toe method. i may try it for a week.

i feel my arch strangle sometimes...it may be it trying to expand beyond the tape.

thanks julie!

Re: Julie

Jim C. on 11/20/02 at 20:22 (100763)

Thanks for responces!

Julie, no I haven't checked the leuko tape yet. I seem to be doing every well with the cheap stuff from Wallmart, but I will check it out soon.

I'm a bit confused with the relationship between taping and orthotics in respect that they do the same thing bio-mechanicly. I have experimented with different kinds of orthos including very expensive custom made, but have settled on powersteps, mainly on recomendation and that I can interchange them between shoes with the same feel/support. I can honestly say that I have never felt any direct improvement due to the orthotics, though I trust that they have helped me in the long run. With taping , I felt immediate pain relive on the first steps.

My understanding of orthotics is normaly they support the arch, providing support when your foot strikes the ground, preventing the arch from collapsing (keeping the fasciitia from being over stretched). With weight on my feet is where I really 'feel' the orthos!
Now with taping, I 'feel' the tension when my heel just lifts off the ground, the tape actualy pulls away from my arch for a split second then relaxing back into my arch when my foot hits the ground. It just seems that they are doing two different things, they certainly feel different?

I will post this in the foot section also.

Jim

Re: Julie

Julie on 11/21/02 at 01:54 (100775)

Jim, this is going to be a guess. I hope one of the doctors or pedorthists will see this thread and contribute.

With taping, it's the tension that is the key. In straightforward classic plantar fasciitis, the fascia has pulled away from the calcaneus and so has lost the ability to support the arch. The tape's tension substitutes for that support. It ball-to-heel tension probably (though I'm not sure about this) also lessens any tendency to overpronate.

The purpose of orthoses is to correct faulty biomechanics as well as provide necessary support. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect that the OTC 'orthotics', however good they may be, are only arch supports, not 'real' orthotics. They might do something for one individual's foot but not another's. They might be a real source of support, or they might just be an irritating or painful lump under the arch. But I would guess that only a custom orthotic, casted and made to the right specifications for the particular individual's foot, will correct that person's flawed biomechanics.

Whereas tape, if the tape is right and the tension is right and if it works (and it probably works best only in cases of classic insertional PF) is genuinely customised to the individual foot.

These are just my thoughts, inspired by your question. They may be way off the beam!

I want to make it clear that I don't think it's an either-or situation. I myself was greatly helped by both tape and custom orthotics which, as I said earlier, worked well individually, but worked best together. I haven't needed tape for well over a year, but I wouldn't dream of going without my orthotics (unless I'm indoors in my Birkenstocks).

Re: Julie

Jim C. on 11/21/02 at 22:49 (100869)

Hi Julie,

Just a quike comment on orthotics. For me I consider my feet to be bio-mechanicly healthy as evidenced by many years of pain free long distance running, often times in very poor foot gear. I think that's the main reason orthotics have not been a big part of my healing, there just isn't anything there for them to fix! When I got my custom mades, my first thought was 'I could gotten the same thing at Wallgreens', it really wasn't much more than a arch support! Now don't get me wrong, I'm now a firm believer in good supportive shoes with at least the addition of a qaulity otc insert for added support. The biggest thing I have noticed with orthotics is my feet are much less fatigued at the end of the day, before PF my feet were always tired and achey.

Again, thanks for your input!

jIm

Re: Taping has helped

Carole C in NOLA on 11/19/02 at 21:01 (100699)

Jim, that is wonderful. I'm not sure if John and Julie have told you about Leuko tape, but apparently it is less likely to rip the skin off your feet and it is available through the internet.

You are right that you are not cured yet... that takes time, but you are in a lot less pain and that's making great headway! Congratulations. :)

Carole C

Re: Taping has helped

Sharon W on 11/19/02 at 22:22 (100706)

WONDERFUL!

Re: Taping has helped

Julie on 11/20/02 at 03:12 (100718)

Thank you very much for posting this, Jim. As you know, I'm a committed taper, and I'm glad you've found it possible to tape daily and that it has helped. Go easy now, though - it sounds as though you're exactly at the point where you could be tempted to overdo. That wouldn't be the end of the world: you'd probably find that you recover more quickly from setbacks, and that, too, is an identifiable part of the healing process. But I hope you won't have too many setbacks and that this really is the 'last bit' of healing for you.

Did you manage to find the Leuko tape?

Your advice to 'get on the taping bandwagon' is very good, and I hope others will get taping too. As I said to you, it was certainly one of the main planks in my recovery, and I've always wished more PF sufferers would do it. The tape simply takes over from the injured, weakened fascia to provide the support for the arch that the fascia can no longer give. It's a real lifesaver.

And yes, the tension needs to be right, and it takes a bit of time and experimentation to get it right. I'm not surprised you found it too tight and irritating when you were plantarflexing your foot! Even neutral was too tight for me, and gentle dorsiflexion was what worked. But everyone needs to find the right tension for themselves: too tight and it can be painful (you feel that the moment you stand up), too loose and it won't be effective.

If anyone else wants to try, please remember that the tape does need to be removed each night so that the skin can recover. The skin weakens and softens if it's left on, particularly if it gets west.

Lighter fluid will easily remove any residue left on the skin. (There are said to be solutions that you can spray on before applying the tape that make it easier to remove, without leaving residue, but I never came across them.)

Re: Taping has helped

monte on 11/20/02 at 07:30 (100728)

i tape everyday...but across my arches with about 5-6 pieces of tape. I think this is called the Low Dye method. Is the toe to heel method better? Sounds quicker.

Re: Taping has helped

Shawn p on 11/20/02 at 08:21 (100731)

Shouldn't orthodics be a substitute for taping?

Re: Taping has helped

Julie on 11/20/02 at 11:32 (100740)

Monte, you could try the toe to heel method, which makes sense to me because it follows the line of the arch and the plantar fascia. But if the low dye method is working for you, why change?

Re: Taping has helped

Julie on 11/20/02 at 11:38 (100741)

Most of the posts from the doctors here have said that taping, if effective and helpful, is an indication that custom orthotics are called for and will probably be more helpful, and that once you have the orthotics tape is no longer needed.

My personal experience is that each was helpful individually, but that I got the most support and help from the two together. (In England we would call this the 'belt and braces' method.)

I think we also need to consider that not all custom orthotics work. If they haven't been prescribed by a podiatrist who has accurately evaluated one's biomechanics, and if they haven't been skilfully casted, properly made, and correctly adjusted, they may be unwearable and end up in the drawer. Whereas tape, if it helps, doesn't have these variables.

Re: Taping has helped

monte on 11/20/02 at 12:00 (100746)

not sure if the low dye method is helping much. it doesn't really shorten the fascia like the heel toe method. i may try it for a week.

i feel my arch strangle sometimes...it may be it trying to expand beyond the tape.

thanks julie!

Re: Julie

Jim C. on 11/20/02 at 20:22 (100763)

Thanks for responces!

Julie, no I haven't checked the leuko tape yet. I seem to be doing every well with the cheap stuff from Wallmart, but I will check it out soon.

I'm a bit confused with the relationship between taping and orthotics in respect that they do the same thing bio-mechanicly. I have experimented with different kinds of orthos including very expensive custom made, but have settled on powersteps, mainly on recomendation and that I can interchange them between shoes with the same feel/support. I can honestly say that I have never felt any direct improvement due to the orthotics, though I trust that they have helped me in the long run. With taping , I felt immediate pain relive on the first steps.

My understanding of orthotics is normaly they support the arch, providing support when your foot strikes the ground, preventing the arch from collapsing (keeping the fasciitia from being over stretched). With weight on my feet is where I really 'feel' the orthos!
Now with taping, I 'feel' the tension when my heel just lifts off the ground, the tape actualy pulls away from my arch for a split second then relaxing back into my arch when my foot hits the ground. It just seems that they are doing two different things, they certainly feel different?

I will post this in the foot section also.

Jim

Re: Julie

Julie on 11/21/02 at 01:54 (100775)

Jim, this is going to be a guess. I hope one of the doctors or pedorthists will see this thread and contribute.

With taping, it's the tension that is the key. In straightforward classic plantar fasciitis, the fascia has pulled away from the calcaneus and so has lost the ability to support the arch. The tape's tension substitutes for that support. It ball-to-heel tension probably (though I'm not sure about this) also lessens any tendency to overpronate.

The purpose of orthoses is to correct faulty biomechanics as well as provide necessary support. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect that the OTC 'orthotics', however good they may be, are only arch supports, not 'real' orthotics. They might do something for one individual's foot but not another's. They might be a real source of support, or they might just be an irritating or painful lump under the arch. But I would guess that only a custom orthotic, casted and made to the right specifications for the particular individual's foot, will correct that person's flawed biomechanics.

Whereas tape, if the tape is right and the tension is right and if it works (and it probably works best only in cases of classic insertional PF) is genuinely customised to the individual foot.

These are just my thoughts, inspired by your question. They may be way off the beam!

I want to make it clear that I don't think it's an either-or situation. I myself was greatly helped by both tape and custom orthotics which, as I said earlier, worked well individually, but worked best together. I haven't needed tape for well over a year, but I wouldn't dream of going without my orthotics (unless I'm indoors in my Birkenstocks).

Re: Julie

Jim C. on 11/21/02 at 22:49 (100869)

Hi Julie,

Just a quike comment on orthotics. For me I consider my feet to be bio-mechanicly healthy as evidenced by many years of pain free long distance running, often times in very poor foot gear. I think that's the main reason orthotics have not been a big part of my healing, there just isn't anything there for them to fix! When I got my custom mades, my first thought was 'I could gotten the same thing at Wallgreens', it really wasn't much more than a arch support! Now don't get me wrong, I'm now a firm believer in good supportive shoes with at least the addition of a qaulity otc insert for added support. The biggest thing I have noticed with orthotics is my feet are much less fatigued at the end of the day, before PF my feet were always tired and achey.

Again, thanks for your input!

jIm