Health & Safety

January 11, 2013

Self-treat bunions, plantar fasciitis at home

During the course of their lives, many people suffer from common foot injuries. Sufferers include military personnel, athletes or those who are on their feet regularly. Two common injuries are bunions and plantar fasciitis. For those who have either one, there are many directions to turn to for assistance. Their primary care manager may refer them to podiatry, physical therapy or orthopedics. Many people are helped with orthotics, stretching and exercise, and in some more chronic cases, injections or surgery. However, many people can find comfort by using two foot-taping techniques they can do themselves at home.

Two simple techniques allow for at-home management of painful symptoms — especially for those on their feet all day, running, ruck-marching or wearing narrow-toed shoes. The tape used is kinesiotape. Many of the recent 2012 Summer Olympics athletes used it for various orthopedic injuries. The tape can be purchased online, and there are some local sporting goods stores that carry it.

Get relief from bunions

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, a bunion is an enlargement of the base of the big toe — an unsightly bump out to the side caused by a misalignment of the joint. As the condition worsens, the big toe may angle toward the second toe or even move all the way under it. The big toe may also force the second toe to overlap the third toe. The damaged joints are subject to bursitis or arthritis.

Those who suffer from bunions can tape them following three to five steps.

bunion-firstphoto
bunion-secondphoto

Take a look at your foot. I drew a line just to see how much I would have to move my big toe – notice the difference!

 

bunion-step2
Next, using a 1-inch wide by 6 – 8 inch long strip of kinesiotape, anchor the tape to the inside of the big toe.

bunion-step3-(2)
Then, with slight tension on the tape, take the tail and begin to pull so the line on the big toe starts to look straight. This is the part of this technique where you want to achieve as straight as a line as possible, with as much comfort as possible. The line doesn’t necessarily have to be straight, but as long as it improves the position of the big toe and reduces discomfort, that is all that matters.

The next step is optional. Using another strip of tape that is 1 inch wide by 3 inches long, make an anchor on the big toe to secure the first piece of tape.

This is also an optional step. Using another strip of tape that is 2 inches wide by 3 to 5 inches long, make an anchor as well as add some padding around the actual bunion to keep it comfortable.

Relieve plantar fasciitis pain

Plantar fasciitis, another common foot injury many people experience, is inflammation of the thick tissue or plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. It is one of the most common orthopedic complaints relating to the foot.

The most frequent symptom is pain and stiffness in the bottom of the heel and may be dull or sharp. The bottom of the foot may also ache or burn. The pain may develop slowly over time, or occur suddenly after intense activity.

It is usually worse in the morning when people take their first steps, after standing or sitting for a while, when climbing stairs or after intense activity.

Plantar fasciits can be taped in four easy steps.

plantar1
First, using a piece of kinesiotape that is 2 inches wide and 4-8 inches long (shorter for smaller feet, longer for larger feet), anchor the tape along the ball of your foot. (This is the padding at the base of the toes.) Next, stretch the tape at close to 100 percent of its stretching capacity. You may have to hold down your anchor.

plantar2
Then wrap the tape along the heel and maintain the stretch, anchoring the tape along the Achilles tendon. Notice the “gap” between the arch of the foot and the tape. That is what you are looking for.

Now spend a moment flattening the tape against the arch of the foot.

plantar-3
Then, using a piece of kinesiotape that is 2 inches wide and 3 – 5 inches long, center the tape on the arch of the foot and pull both ends with slight tension, wrapping this around the arch of the foot to anchor the arch, and provide an “arch support.” The tape may overlap on the top of the foot or not.

Those with questions about this article, the techniques in this article, or any general kinesiotaping questions, should speak to their local physical therapist at the Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center or off-post health provider or email moshe.greenberg@us.army.mil.




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