How To: Taping Mechanically for Arch Height

Excessive changes in subtalar eversion and medial longitudinal arch height and the velocity and duration of this change have been implicated in overuse conditions of the lower limb, including medial tibial stress syndrome, achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.1-4

Rigid Taping

Rigid taping, most commonly a low-dye or low-dye plus reverse 6’s technique, has been used to control pronation with studies reporting increased navicular height, lower local muscle activity (e.g. tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior) and EMG changes up the kinetic chain.5-9 Studies have also reported changes in plantar pressure.9

Some of the changes persist after removing the tape, but with a substantially lower magnitude.5,10,11 Similar improvements have also been reported in MTSS, plantar fasciitis and Sever’s disease.6,12,13 Rigid taping is thought to passively restrict movement with 3D kinematic studies showing a general reduction in rear foot motion (not limited to pronation)14 as well as mid foot control. Soslowsky et al15 showed that loads can induce tendinopathy, and McPoil and Hunt16 proposed a tissue stress model to explain the lower limbs overuse injuries. They suggest that excessive loads cause micro-failures when the tissues go beyond the elastic region of the load-deformation curve. Overuse injuries may result if load and damage exceed the capacity of the tissues to accommodate the load and regenerate.

Low-dye taping restricts motion and prevents stress to the supporting connective tissues13 and resulting creep and hysteresis. Restricting movement, however, may lead to unwanted effects elsewhere in the kinetic chain as the body attempts to dissipate load. The taping is often uncomfortable and fails to absorb load or decelerate movement directly.

Dynamic Taping

Dynamic Tape has strong recoil properties, stretches in all directions and has no rigid endpoint. It permits full range of motion and, when applied correctly, creates a ‘bungee’ effect to decelerate motion and reduce the load absorption requirements of the tissues while allowing desirable movement to accommodate to ground surfaces or further dissipate load.

In a preliminary study,17 Dynamic Taping effectively reduced foot length and raised the navicular height in both non-weight bearing and weight bearing. Furthermore, taping the foot in a ‘short’ position – for the greatest load absorption and resistance to pronation – resulted in a greater improvement than taping in a neutral position.

In an experimental design single-case study on a long distance runner with plantar fasciitis, we found that this effect persisted for 3 days despite significant exercise challenges (a 16km run and a yoga session on day 1 and a 12km run and a yoga session on day 3). The considerable change in navicular height was present 24 hours after removing the tape.

  1. Golam Reza D Raissi, Afsaneh D Safar Cherati, Kourosh D Mansoori and Mohammad D Razi: The relationship between lower extremity alignment and Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome among non-professional athletes. Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology 2009, 1:11.
  2. Rathleff MS, Kelly LA, Christensen FB, Simonsen OH, Kaalund S, Laessoe U: Dynamic midfoot kinematics in subjects with medial tibial stress syndrome. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2012 May-Jun;102(3):205-12.
  3. Ryan M, Grau S, Krauss I, Maiwald C, Taunton J, Horstmann T: Kinematic analysis of runners with achilles mid-portion tendinopathy. Foot Ankle Int. 2009 Dec;30(12):1190-5.
  4. Cornwall MW. Common pathomechanics of the foot. Athl Ther Today. 2000;5(1):10 –16.
  5. LVicenzino B, Griffiths SR, Griffiths LA, Hadley A: Effect of antipronation tape and temporary orthotic on vertical navicular height before and after exercise. J Orthop Sports Phys Thy. 2000; 30(6): 333-339.
  6. Franettovich M, Chapman AR, Blanch P, Vicenzino B: Augmented low-Dye tape alters foot mobility and neuromotor control of gait in individuals with and without exercise related leg pain. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2010, 3:5.
  7. Franettovich M, Chapman A, Vicenzino B: Tape that increases medial longitudinal arch height also reduces leg muscle activity: a preliminary study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Apr;40(4):593-600.
  8. Cornwall MW, Lebec M, DeGeyter J, McPoil TG: The reliability of the modified reverse-6 taping procedure with elastic tape to alter the height and width of the medial longitudinal arch. Int J Sports Phy Thy. 8(4): 318-392.
  9. Vicenzino B, Feilding J, Howard R, Moore R, Smith S: An investigation of the antipronation effect of two taping methods after application and exercise. Gait & Posture 5, 1997, 1-5.
  10. Nolan D, Kennedy N: Effects of low-dye taping on plantar pressure pre and post exercise: an exploratory study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2009, 10:40.
  11. Harradine P, Herrington L, Wright R: The effect of Low Dye taping upon rearfoot motion and position before and after exercise. The Foot. 2001 (11), 57-60.
  12. Hunt GC, Stowell T, Alnwick GM, Evans S: Arch taping as a symptomatic treatment in patients with Sever’s disease: A multiple case series. The Foot. 2007 (17) 178–183.
  13. Saxelby J, Betts RP, Bygrave CJ: ‘Low-Dye’ taping on the foot in the management of plantar fasciitis. The Foot 7 (1997) 205-209.
  14. O’Sullivan K, Kennedy N, O’Neill E, Mhainin U N: The effect of low-dye taping on rearfoot motion and plantar pressure during the stance phase of gait. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2008, 9:111.
  15. Soslowsky LJ(1), Thomopoulos S, Esmail A, Flanagan CL, Iannotti JP, Williamson JD 3rd, Carpenter JE. Rotator cuff tendinosis in an animal model: role of extrinsic and overuse factors. Ann Biomed Eng. 2002 Sep;30(8):1057-63.
  16. McPoil T, Hunt G: Evaluation and management of foot and ankle disorders: present problems and future directions. Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1995 (21) 381-388.
  17. Kendrick RJ, Kendrick YI: ‘Active’ Dynamic Taping for medial longitudinal arch support, applied in the shortened position increases navicular height, reduces foot length and decreases the magnitude of navicular drop between non weight bearing and weight bearing more than ‘non-active’ taping: a preliminary investigation. 2014