Study design: Prospective, experimental, randomized, single-factor, pretest/posttest design.
Objectives: To examine the effects of a calcaneal and Achilles-tendon-taping technique, utilizing only 4 pieces of tape and not involving the medial arch, on the symptoms of plantar heel pain.
Background: Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel and foot pain. Physical therapists have applied many techniques in an attempt to relieve the symptoms of plantar heel pain, including various taping methods for which there is little existing evidence.
Methods and measures: Subjects (n=41) were randomly assigned into 4 groups: (1) stretching of the plantar fascia, (2) calcaneal taping, (3) control (no treatment), and (4) sham taping. A visual analog scale (VAS) for pain and a patient-specific functional scale (PSFS) for functional activities were measured pretreatment and after 1 week of treatment (posttreatment).
Results: A significant difference was found posttreatment among the groups for the VAS (P < .001). Specifically, significant differences were found between stretching and calcaneal taping (mean + SD, 4.6 +/- 0.7 versus 2.7 +/- 1.8; P = .006), stretching and control (mean +/- SD, 4.6 +/- 0.7 versus 6.2 +/- 1.0; P = .026), calcaneal taping and control (mean +/- SD, 2.7 +/- 1.8 versus 6.2 +/- 1.0; P < .001), and calcaneal taping and sham taping (mean +/- SD, 2.7 +/- 1.8 versus 6.0 +/- 0.9; P < .001). No significant difference among groups was found for posttreatment PSFS (P = .078).
Conclusions: Calcaneal taping was shown to be a more effective tool for the relief of plantar heel pain than stretching, sham taping, or no treatment.