Sticky Fix for Flat FeetPhysical therapists and athletic trainers often use tape to hold the foot of a patient or athlete in one position. The most common reason for taping the foot is to address pronation, otherwise known as flat feet.
Taping is used to hold the ankle in a "neutral" position. Neutral means that the ankle and foot aren't rolled in or out but that they stay in the middle. In this position, the ankle is stable and has the best strength. If taping is successful, a more permanent support such as a foot orthotic is ordered. An orthotic is an insert put inside the shoe that holds the foot in place.
There are many different ways to tape the foot. It isn't known yet which method works the best. Some studies have shown that the tape doesn't keep the ankle in neutral after vigorous exercise. Several physical therapists studied the use of one particular kind of taping for the foot. This method, called low-Dye arch taping is used to keep the foot from rolling into a pronated position.
The therapists found that this taping method (designed to reduce pronation) held the foot position. Even after ten minutes of normal walking, the tape held the neutral position. Another study is needed to see if the tape will keep the neutral position after more active (or longer) exercise.
Clayton F. Holmes, PT, EdD, ATC, et al. Effect of a Modified, low-Dye Medial Longitudinal Arch Taping Procedure on the Subtalar Joint Neutral Position before and after Light Exercise. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. May 2002. Vol. 32. No. 5. Pp. 194-201.
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