Metatarsalgia Taping Techniques
In this article we’re going to discuss the top 2 methods for metatarsalgia taping.
Metatarsalgia can be a painful problem that can make everyday tasks such was standing and walking incredibly painful.
Luckily, if you’re able to identify the cause of your forefoot pain, taping can be an extremely effective to reduce inflammation in the area.
It’s important to note that metatarsalgia or ball of the foot pain can take various forms. So if you have pain in the ball of the foot in any specific area, please feel free to check out these other articles more specific to the problem:
- Capsulitis of the second toe taping (Pain under the second toe)
- Sesamoiditis taping (Pain under the first toe)
How Does Metatarsalgia Taping Help?
The purpose of taping the forefoot for metatarsalgia is twofold.
- To increase the amount of natural fat under the metatarsal bones.
- To place the metatarsals in the most optimal position for recovery.
- Reduce inflammation in the ball of the foot.
It should be noted that the point of this taping is NOT to shorten the calf muscle. Even though the tape anchors on the base of the calf muscle.
In fact, care should be taken to apply zero stretch to the tape when anchoring it to the back of the foot. This is because tight calf muscles are on of the causes of metatarsalgia.
Adding tension to the tape when anchoring to the back of the foot will only cause the symptoms to aggravate.
How To Tape The Foot For Metatarsalgia
Method 1: Metatarsalgia Taping With Single I-Strip
This is by far the easiest method to tape the ball of the foot for metatarsalgia. For this all you will need is a sharp pair of scissors and some good kinesiology tape. I recommend getting the 2″ wide Rock Tape.
It is good practice to the surface of the skin, before applying the tape.
To clean the foot for metatarsalgia taping, simply apply some rubbing alcohol to a piece of cloth and wipe the length of the foot. Make sure to clean the foot from the ball of the foot all the way up to the heel and then up the calf.
The tape will be applied here.
I highly recommend reading through the entire process at least once before starting the process. Making sure to pay special attention to Steps – 5, 6 and 7.
- In order to begin this method, you’ll have to measure the amount of tape required for the taping. To do this, simply measure and cut a piece of tape from the base of your toes to just above the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is what attaches the calf muscle to the heel.
- After cutting the tape to length, you’ll want to ’round off’ the corners. This will ensure that the tape does not stick to articles of clothing, bed sheets, socks and your shoes.
- To apply the tape, peel the backing paper from one end of the tape. Make sure not to touch the sticky side of the tape.
- Lift your toes up and then place the sticky side of the tape under the base of your toes.
- You’ll want to create an anchor by covering the length of the ball of your foot with the tape (towards the heel). Make sure that your toes are always pointed upwards during this step of the process. Then apply the tape downward, from the base of your toes to the edge of the ball of your foot. The unused part of the tape should be face the direction of your heel.
- Then bringing the toes all the way down, pull the tape applying about 80 percent stretch to it and anchor it to the base of your heel.
- Apply the remaining tape to the back of your leg, all the way up the Achilles tendon, up to the base of the calf. Make sure not to apply any stretch.
- The three most important parts of this process are; making sure to raise the toes as much as possible before completing Step-5. And then bringing the toes down to apply the tape with 80% stretch up to the base of your heel( Step-6). And most importantly, making sure not to use nay stretch when anchoring the rest of the tape to the back of your leg (Step-7).
To test whether the tape was applied properly:
- Feel for tension at the ball of your foot. It should feel like the ball of your foot is being pulled downward toward the ground. This pull will place the natural fatty padding of your feet, directly under the metatarsal bones. Thus helping increase shock absorption on impact.
- It should also feel as though there is downward resistance when trying to lift your toes upward.
If you feel like this first method of metatarsalgia taping is not providing enough of a stretch to the balls of your feet, proceed onto method two.
Method two picks up where this method left off and places two additional pieces of tape to the ball of the foot. This is done to increase the amount of natural fatty padding under the ball of the foot.
Mehtod 2: Metatarsalgia Taping With Triple I-Strips
This method capitalises on where the first method left off. For this, first complete all the steps mentioned in method one.
- To continue from where Method 1 left off, cut 2 more I-strips about two inches more than the width of your forefoot. For the purpose of convenience, we are going to call these two I-strips Strip-A and Strip-B.
- Round off the corners of these 2 I-strips with a sharp pair of scissors.
- Break the backing paper at the middle of the first of these strips.
- Then, applying about 50 percent stretch to both ends of the Strip-A, place it over the entire width of the ball of the foot. It should cross over strip-1 in the previors method, horizontally. Make sure to anchor the two ends of this strip on either side of the forefoot without any stretch. This will further bunch up the fatty tissue under the ball of the foot.
- Then take Strip-B and apply it the same way, only further down the foot. Make sure to overlap the Strip-A by about 50 percent. Apply Strip-B the same way you applied Strip-A. Making sure not to apply any stretch to both ends of the tape when anchoring.
To test whether these two strips were applied properly, stand up and take a walk around. It should feel like you are able to place all your toes and metatarsals evenly on the ground. If it feels like you are walking on the outer edges of your feet, remove one or both the strips and apply again with less stretch.
The main reason for taping the foot for metatarsalgia is to place as much natural fatty padding under the ball of the foot.
Conventional footwear, places the foot in an anatomically incorrect position. High heels, and toe springs stretch the ball of the foot, displacing the natural fatty padding underneath it.
This natural fatty padding under the ball of the foot serves as a protection mechanism against impact. Thinning out of this layer in conventional footwear makes the condition worse.
Hence, bringing the fatty padding back under the ball of the foot with metatarsalgia taping, greatly reduces pain int eh ball of the foot.