What Is Plantar Fasciitis Really?
Plantar Fasciitis is not the most useful or the most descriptive of names for what the condition really is. Given that an ‘itis’ is technically a condition that involves inflammation – modern research having shown that plantar fasciitis is not caused by inflammation.
Nearly all plantar fasciitis patients have successfully self-diagnosed before they walk into a clinic, but very few actually understand the underlying physical process. And if you suffer with chronic pain, knowing what is actually going in is a kinda useful start point.
Plantar fasciitis is a form of repetitive strain injury that occurs in the sole of the foot. Like all repetitive strain injuries, plantar fasciitis relates in part to lifestyle (think footwear choices / hobbies etc.), partly to environment (think concrete/tarmac etc.), partly to genetics (think flat feet, knock knee’s etc.); and also like all repetitive strain injuries – plantar fasciitis sucks to live with.
Repetitive strain in the sole of the foot caused by a combination of factors, that all conspire to create scar tissue. So plantar fasciitis is essentially repetitive strain, leading to a build up of scar tissue in the sole of your foot. To be clear, we aren’t talking about the happy, well resolved type of scar tissue either – we are talking about really grumpy scar tissue that is a lot like a partially unhealed wound.
So What About Plantar Fasciitis Taping Then?
Ultimately the value of plantar fasciitis taping is determined 100% by whether it works for YOU, both in the long and short term. It is worth bearing in mind at all times however that while it might make life easier, plantar fasciitis taping will never break up the scar tissue in your foot. That being said, there are some general principles to be aware of when choosing treatment options for plantar fasciitis, including the taping part of the jigsaw.
The most effective treatments vary from person to person in cases of plantar fasciitis. Within the treatment buffet, there can be value in selecting treatments that achieve any of the following ..
Treatments for plantar fasciitis that increase blood flow to the plantar fascia. These can include extracorporeal shockwave therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, hot and cold therapy and Graston technique.
Treatments for plantar fasciitis that break up scar tissue in the foot. These can include extracorporeal shockwave therapy, acupuncture and Graston technique.
Treatments for plantar fasciitis that reduce pain signals. This can include acupressure, acupuncture, Graston technique, massage, hot & cold and of course pain medications.
Treatments for plantar fasciitis that address muscle weakness in the ankle, knee & hip. This is basically only possible through consistent use of specific strength exercises.
While plantar fasciitis taping is definitely useful in the short term, most patients report that they have better results with less hassle in the long term using a combination of custom orthotics, treatments that promote blood flow, scar tissue release and strength exercises.
Plantar fasciitis taping can definitely be used to support the arches and to reduce some of the impact strain that occurs in the plantar fascia when you walk and run; particularly when you are in pain management mode as opposed to later on when you are in rehab mode.
Plantar fasciitis taping is generally considered to be more of a short term ‘stop gap’ measure that can get you through until more permanent solutions like those mentioned above can be actioned. This is to take nothing away from the value of taping to get you out of a tight spot.
Plantar fasciitis taping is especially useful if your pain treatment and rehab process is still pending, and you have some activity, training or sporting performance that you need to get through.
The upside of plantar fasciitis taping is that it is relieving, quick and cost effective. The downside of plantar fasciitis taping is that for most people it is quite temporary and doesn’t get to the heart of the plantar fasciitis issue… scar tissue!!!