Taping can be used therapeutically in the treatment of injury and various conditions of the foot and ankle by enhancing mechanical support.
What is taping?
Taping is the application of specialised material to the foot and ankle using various techniques. It can be used to limit motion at the affected joint and protect a healing area providing support during recovery. It is also used to enhance muscle activation.
What podiatry related conditions can taping help with?
Taping can help provide support of the foot and ankle and therefore assist in the treatment of the following conditions;
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ankle sprain
- Posterior tibial tendinopathy
- Achillies tendinopathy
How does taping work?
Taping works in three different ways;
Provide stability - taping can be used to provide support for weakened muscles and ligaments. It improves the muscles contractibility even when the muscle is damaged, but its main role is to provide an external solid support to joints.
Reduce swelling - therapeutic tape has a stretch to it, which when applied to an area in which inflammation has occurred, works to raise the skin over that area. This creates a gap between the skin and the tissues beneath, producing an area of negative pressure. This causes lymphatic vessels to dilate, allowing fluid that has accumulated in that area to drain away, thus reducing any swelling.
Alter muscle activation - taping can also work by increasing or decreasing muscle activation. The tape has an effect on the proprioceptors in the skin. These proprioceptors alter the feedback to the central nervous system, which controls what happens to muscle, this can either increase or decrease the stimulus to the muscle, altering muscle activity.
What are the benefits of taping?
When used appropriately, foot taping can have many benefits, they include;
- Accelerates the rate of recovery and the return to normal activity
- Prevents aggravation or reoccurrence of an injury
- Prevents injury occurring during activities which have added risk i.e. long distance running or contact sport
- The amount of immobilisation can be controlled
- Circulation in the taped area is not compromised
- Taping is effective during movement and isn't as restrictive as a set cast
Similar treatments / services that could help?There are similar treatments available as an alternative to taping including;
- Orthotic management
- Steroid injections
- Ultrasound therapy
- Padding techniques
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
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