How to Tape a Heel Spur

By Lisa Parris

Heel spurs are the result of abnormal bone growth on the bottom of the foot, particularly in the area of the heel. Though it sounds painful, the heel spur itself does not cause discomfort. The pain people with heel spurs feel is caused by the inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, the thick, elastic connective tissue that originates at the heel and runs across the sole of the foot, connecting to the toes. When too much tension is placed on the plantar fascia by excessive walking, running, or heavy lifting, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis occur. To correct this, athletic tape can be applied to the foot. Because athletic tape does not stretch, the tension is transferred from the fascia to the tape, allowing the fascia to rest and recover from overuse.

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Heel spurs are the result of abnormal bone growth on the bottom of the foot, particularly in the area of the heel. Though it sounds painful, the heel spur itself does not cause discomfort. The pain people with heel spurs feel is caused by the inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia, the thick, elastic connective tissue that originates at the heel and runs across the sole of the foot, connecting to the toes. When too much tension is placed on the plantar fascia by excessive walking, running, or heavy lifting, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis occur. To correct this, athletic tape can be applied to the foot. Because athletic tape does not stretch, the tension is transferred from the fascia to the tape, allowing the fascia to rest and recover from overuse.

Tear off a strip of athletic tape long enough to span the width of your foot at its widest place, leaving enough tape to come up over the sides of the foot.

Place the tape across the foot at the toe joints so that the tape covers the ball of the foot. If you're not sure where this is, wiggle your big toe. You can feel the toe joint when the toe moves. Smooth the tape down and press it firmly into place, pulling the ends of the tape up over the sides of the foot. This is known as the anchor strip.

Place a strip of tape around the inside and outside edges of the foot. This piece of tape begins at one end of the anchor strip, runs around the heel and stops at the other end of the anchor strip.

Make a support ribbon shape with the next piece of tape. Beginning at the anchor strip just below the little toe, bring the tape across the sole of the foot and around the heel. Then bring it back across the sole, stopping just below the big toe. The end result is a piece of tape that looks just like a support or awareness ribbon; the heel is in the loop while the tape forms an 'X' across the center of the foot .

Repeat step 4, beginning with the big toe.

Cover the bottom of the foot with short pieces of tape, running from one side to the other. Start at the anchor strip and work your way down the foot, making sure each piece is firmly stuck to the last.

Tip

Tape should be removed every evening and reapplied each morning.

Applying hair spray to the skin before taping can help the tape to stick.

Using tape with arch supports improves the performance of both.

Warning

Do not wrap the tape too high on the back of the heel. When walking, the skin in this area will need to be able to stretch.

Only use athletic tape.

About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.

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