An investigation into the effectiveness of two different taping techniques in the treatment of plantar fasciitis
Petzer, Justin L.
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Background: Plantar fasciitis (PF) is inflammation of the plantar surface of the foot, usually at the calcaneal attachment and is most commonly due to overuse. It is the most common foot condition treated by healthcare providers. Conservative treatment using taping is one of the first lines of treatment for PF. Low-Dye taping and Kinesio taping are two types of taping techniques commonly used to treat PF. Low-Dye taping and Kinesio taping have different intrinsic tape properties as well as different mechanisms of action in the treatment of PF. Low-Dye taping involves the use of a non-stretch, rigid tape. Rigid tape is commonly used by therapists primarily for the mechanical properties the tape provides to support the injured structure as well as to protect against re-injury. Low-Dye taping shortens the distance between origin and insertion of the plantar musculature and fascia, decreasing stress and tensile forces along the plantar plate to protect the plantar fascia and allow healing to occur. Kinesio tape is an elastic tape that allows a one-way longitudinal stretch; it is applied in a specific manner to achieve its therapeutic effects and forms convolutions on the skin. The proposed mechanism of action of Kinesio tape involves improving circulation of blood and lymphatics to resolve oedema caused by the inflammatory component of PF; suppressing pain, and; relieving muscle tension to return fascia and muscle functioning to normal. Both forms of tape have shown effectiveness in the treatment of PF; however the effectiveness of one taping technique versus the other has not yet been explored. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of Kinesio tape alone versus Low-Dye tape alone in the treatment of PF in terms of both objective and subjective measures. Methods: Thirty participants with a diagnosis of PF, between the ages of 20 and 45, were randomly allocated into two treatment groups. Both groups received treatment in the form of a taping technique, either Kinesio tape or Low-Dye tape. Assessments were made pre-treatment at each visit and at a follow up visit, with seven visits in total. Assessments included objective data measures (ultrasonography, algometer readings, weight-bearing ankle dorsiflexion measurements) and subjective measures (the visual analogue scale and the foot function index questionnaire). Data was recorded in a data collection sheet and Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 21 was used to analyze the data with a p value of < 0.05 considered as being statistically significant. Results: Most outcomes showed a significant improvement over time regardless of which form of treatment they received. For the VAS and pain walking outside, in the disability section of the FFI, there was statistical evidence of the Kinesio tape group improving more than the Low-Dye tape group. For morning pain, in the pain section of the FFI, and pain climbing curbs, in the disability section of the FFI, there was statistical evidence of the Low-Dye tape group improving more than the Kinesio tape group. For all the other outcomes there was a non-significant trend towards the Low-Dye tape group showing a greater improvement than the Kinesio tape group. Conclusion: Kinesio taping and Low-Dye taping were both found to be effective in the treatment of PF with neither form of tape showing superiority to the other in the treatment of PF.