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Kinesio Tape or Low Dye Tape for Plantar Fasciitis

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Craig Payne, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator


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    The concept of Kinesio taping for plantar fasciitis has been turning up in my alerts with increasing frequency lately. I either just don't get it or something does not make sense.

    To me, plantar fasciitis is due to too much load in the plantar fascia, so if strapping or tape is indicated, then you want it to reduce the load in the structure. To that end, I do Jacks text/Hubscher maneuver before and after applying the Low dye tape. The assumption is that if the test is easier after the tape application, then the load in the plantar fascia is decreased.

    What I don't get is how Kinesio tape is supposed to actually help plantar fasciitis if it does not reduce the load in the plantar fascia ????

    Here are some egs of Kinesio taping for plantar fasciitis:

    What say you?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  2. Berms

    Berms Active Member

    Hi Craig,
    Thanks for posting this question as it is something I have been pondering quite a bit after attending a Kinesio Taping workshop of the lower limb some months ago.... We were shown a taping method for plantar fasciitis, but I just couldn't get my head around how this very 'elastic' tape applied with relatively little tension could reduce tension of the plantar fascia?

    The explanation I was given was (loosely) that the tape worked in a completely different way to rigid sports tape... instead of acting as a simple rigid support/brace to the affected structure, the tension it placed on the tissues sent some sort of messages to the nervous system and consequently altered the mechanical function of the associated structures and therefore reduced stress?? (Thuy Bridges the Kinesio instructor explained it much better than that of course but my memory fails me).

    I'm looking forward to hearing more from those in the know.
  3. All these tapes when applied on the plantar foot in an appropriate manner, have the following potential, upon weightbearing of the foot:

    1) they cause a rearfoot dorsiflexion moment by the tape pulling anteriorly on the plantar skin of the calcaneus;

    2) they cause a forefoot plantarflexion moment by the tape pulling posteriorly on the plantar skin of the forefoot.

    The combination of these two forces create a longitudinal arch raising moment that may reduce the tension within the plantar fascia during weightbearing activities.

    In other words, the plantar taping acts as a load sharing structure for the plantar fascia during weightbearing activities.
  4. pod29

    pod29 Active Member

    Kevin, Do you mean a forefoot plantar-flexion moment? Or am I confused?

  5. pod29

    pod29 Active Member

    I think it is possible that this taping technique may also have some sensory cutaneous effect, ie. stimulation of sensory afferents on skin adjacent to the triceps surae, tib post and the plantar intrinsics. There has a been a few studies on patella taping that have shown that neuromotor changes occur (altered vasti activation patterns) when tape is applied to the skin in a certain direction, and these neuromotor adjustments are not necessarily associated with kinematics.

    Macgregor K, Gerlach S, Mellor R, Hodges PW. Cutaneous stimulation from patella tape causes a differential increase in vasti muscle activity in people with patellofemoral pain. J Orthop Res. 2005;23:351-358.

    Christou EA. Patellar taping increases vastus medialis oblique activity in the presence of patellofemoral pain. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2004;14:495-504.

    Not rock solid evidence, but it does give some insight to a potential mode of effect?
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  6. Luke:

    Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I corrected the posting.
  7. Athol Thomson

    Athol Thomson Active Member

    I'm not sure Kinesio tape is meant to alter plantar fascia tension. I think it is supposed to pull on the skin and fascia to create space for lymphatic drainage if you believe the spin?

    Below is taken from a Kinesio tape website:

    Tape is applied over an area of stretched muscle. When the muscle relaxes, the tape forms convolutions or wrinkles. This results in the skin pulling away from the underlying fascia, and in so doing creating greater space for lymphatic drainage and blood perfusion, and taking pressure off the pain receptors.

    I have seen some pretty impressive results in terms of decreased bruising under the tape compared with surrounding tissue of the biceps femoris post injury when the physios apply it.

    It is not rigid enough to provide much help in terms of load sharing. May have an effect on muscle facilitation or inhibition as Luke said.

  8. Athol:

    If the taping puts a tension force on the plantar skin and that tension increases with increased arch deformation, then this taping can act as a load sharing device for the plantar fascia. This can easily be demonstrated by biomechanical modelling or free-body diagrams.

    However, whether kinesio tape has some other mystical qualities that the manufacturers of this type of tape would like us to believe, only time will tell. I will be waiting on the research that shows that tape on the skin "increases lympatic drainage", "facilitates muscles" (whatever that means) or "inhibits muscles" (whatever that means).
  9. Griff

    Griff Moderator

    I too have seen some rather remarkable results with Kinesiotaping.

    You can't watch a sports event on TV in the UK without seeing it.

    A certain subset of patients actively request it.

    Its biggest mode of action could well be psychological?
  10. Athol Thomson

    Athol Thomson Active Member

    Hi Kevin,

    I agree that rigid tape puts tension on the plantar skin and will contribute to load sharing with the plantar fascia but I'm not sure Kinesio tape can do this very well, or if it does, by how much it contributes?

    It is just too flexible to alter arch deformation during vertical loading or return enough elastic energy as the heel lifts in my opinion. Especially in the way the tape seems to be applied to the arch. (longitudinal slips mostly) I can't see it having any direct effect on loading. Unless, like Vmo activation with taping, it changes neuromuscular activity or muscle recruitment somehow?

    I don't use K-tape at all. Mostly due to the lack of evidence to back-up the proposed modes of action so far. Mind you, most physios I work with use it extensively and swear by it for certain treatment plans.

    I was just pointing out that (from the Kinesio tape UK website) the aim of a practitioner using K-tape would most likely be to lift the skin away from the fascia rather than change the tension of the plantar fascia. Again if you believe the spin/hype.

    One of the Physios I work with teaches K-taping all over the UK and Ireland and the courses are always full. I still can't get any references for decent evidence from him though.

  11. It would be interesting to see some research on whether this tape actually does something better than other types of tape. It is more stretchy and it does seem to work fairly well. Personally, however, I haven't had enough experience with it yet to determine if it works any better than cloth adhesive tape for helping to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis.

    Here is a nice study on Kinesio taping vs sham taping for shoulder pain that showed some immediate improvements in pain, but no miracle cures.
  12. RobinP

    RobinP Well-Known Member

    I would imagine it is impossible for it not to have a kinetic effect, albeit very little. Is it enough to take an injured tissue to wothin its zone of optimal stress? In some cases, it probably is but I can't say that I would thinkit would be all the time.

    I suspect this(and partly psychological) are responsible. Like a hip brace for someone who has a recurrently dislocating hip. the mechanical brace is nowhere near strong enough to prevent dislocation but the psychological reminder seems to reduce the rate of dislocation(in my clinical experience - not sure about evidence for that though)

    I've seen some great Kinesiotape results and I will go on course but i'm not sure I buy the explanation behind the mode of action.

    Good thread
  13. Tape provides a sensory input via cutaneous receptors, in the same way that wearing a watch or a hip brace or a foot orthoses provides sensory input via cutaneous receptors. I use a simple stirrup strap as part of ankle sprain rehab, it pulls on the skin as the foot moves giving additional feedback to the patient; kinetically it does next to nothing- been doing this for the past too many years with elastoplast, chirofix, masking tape, insulation tape, cellotape, parcel tape- whatever kind of tape that is at hand really. All of the aforementioned are as cheap as chips. I'm guessing this stuff is more expensive than elastoplast because it comes in different colours.

    One word question: Habituation?

    As for the other claims- show me the evidence.
  14. phil

    phil Active Member

    I'd like to comment on the mechanical mode of action of this tape and others. In the opening post, there are some youtubes showing application techniques for plantar fasciitis, and they are applying it only to the plantar foot, to load-share with the plantar fasciia. To me, the mechanism of action seems fairly straightforward in this case.

    However, i've also seen it applied in a strip from the plantar forefoot, back around the heel and up the posterior calf. I went to a dynamic tape workshop on the weekend and this was the technique advised for plantar fasciitis.

    My contention is this- wouldn't increasing achielles tendon contraction force by extending the tape up the posterior calf increase rearfoot plantar flexion, theoretically increasing MLA collapse and plantar fascial tension?

    It was really fun to play with this tape, and the effects on upper limb mechanics were really obvious, as we all had the chance to practice on each other (which was a bit wierd as I was the only podiatrist in a room of physios!). However, when we got to using it for ankle and lower limb stuff, it was pretty obvious to me that the forces down there are just way too high. For example, jacks test was unchanged with this tape, where as with rigid tape i can usually test a pretty big difference.

    Also, i've had a physio tell me that applying it to the posterior calf immediately improves ankle equinus in his patients. He does the lunge test before and after application, and sees an increase in ankle jt dorsiflexion with tape. Makes no sense to me. Logic would suggest it should do the opposite. Maybe it is psychological?

  15. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    Kinesio tape is flexible, so how can a couple of strips on the plantar surface of the foot have a mechanical effect? Try it and see what happens.

    Just posted: Does Kinesio taping work?
  16. Ninja11

    Ninja11 Active Member

    The spin I have heard about kinesiogy tape also focused on the sensory nerve response effects it has on the client... to which I pondered, wouldn't any form of tape have an effect on the sensory nerves once adhered to the skin?
  17. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    An investigation into the effectiveness of two different taping techniques in the treatment of plantar fasciitis
    Petzer, Justin L.
    Thesis; Durban University; 2015
  18. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Kinesio? Tex Tape: Valuable Conservative Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis?
    Daryl Lawson, Amanda Hoffmeyer, Ashley Pearsall and Srikant Vallabhajosula
    J Nov Physiother 2015, 5:5
  19. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    A Comparison between Kinesiotaping and Tissue Specific Plantar Fascia Stretching Exercise Treatment in Planter Fasciitis
    Singh Anand Kumar et al
    Indian Journal of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy - An International Journal; Year : 2017, Volume : 11, Issue : 4
  20. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Effectiveness of Kinesio Taping on Balance and Functional Performance in Subjects with Plantar Fasciitis
    Veena Kirthika. S Selvaraj Sudhakar Padmanabhan. K Mohan Kumar. G Senthil Kumar. N Vijayakumar. M Bharaneedharan. T
    Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology Volume No. : 11 Issue No. : 10 Year : 2018
  21. markjohconley

    markjohconley Well-Known Member

    Why did they not have an intervention group using just standard tape? and how is the control group a control group if they also used calf stretches?, mark
  22. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Short-term efficacy of kinesiotaping versus extracorporeal shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis: A randomized study.
    Tezel N, Umay E, Bulut M, Cakci A.
    Saudi J Med Med Sci 2020;8:181-7
  23. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Short-Term Efficacy of Kinesiotaping versus Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy for Plantar Fasciitis: A Randomized Study
    Nihal Tezel et al
    Saudi J Med Med Sci. Sep-Dec 2020;8(3):181-187

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