In this post, we describe how a therapist can use the circular arch taping technique to apply athletic tape for mild support to the longitudinal arch of the foot. The circular arch taping technique is appropriate for treating longitudinal arch strains.
Circular arch taping is also an effective technique for managing pes cavus conditions, i.e. when the sole of the foot exhibits a hollow shape when bearing weight. Pes cavus is also known as fixed plantar flexion. Finally, the circular arch technique is useful for treating pes planus conditions. Pes planus conditions are the opposite of pes cavus conditions and manifest themselves as a flattened longitudinal arch. The common term for pes cavus is flat feet.
What Is Circular Arch Taping?
Circular arch taping is a taping technique used to provide support and stability to the arch of the foot. It involves applying tape in a circular pattern around the arch area to help maintain the foot’s natural arch shape and prevent excessive pronation (inward rolling) or collapse of the arch. Circular arch taping can be beneficial for individuals with arch pain, plantar fasciitis, or other conditions that require additional arch support.
Here’s a general overview of the circular arch taping technique:
- Prepare the Foot: Ensure that the foot is clean and dry before applying the tape. Remove any excess hair or moisture from the area.
- Start at the Ball of the Foot: Begin by anchoring the tape at the ball of the foot, just behind the base of the toes. Apply the tape diagonally across the arch, heading towards the inner side of the foot.
- Circle the Arch: Continue wrapping the tape in a circular motion around the arch of the foot, gradually moving towards the outer side of the foot. Each wrap of the tape should partially overlap the previous one to create a supportive and snug fit.
- Apply Tension: As you wrap the tape, apply moderate tension to provide support to the arch without causing discomfort or restricting blood circulation. Ensure that the tape is securely adhered to the foot.
- Secure the End: Once you have completed several circles around the arch, secure the end of the tape by pressing it firmly onto the foot or using a tape adherent spray to enhance its adherence.
- Range of Motion: After applying the tape, it is important to check that the individual can still move their foot and toes comfortably and without restriction. The tape should provide support while allowing for a natural range of motion.
Circular arch taping can be combined with other taping techniques or used in conjunction with arch support inserts or orthotics for added support and comfort. It is advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional or a certified athletic trainer for proper taping techniques and to determine if circular arch taping is suitable for your specific condition or foot structure.
Circular Arch Taping – Preparation
For this task, you will need 1.5 inch non elastic athletic tape. Optional extras are pre-wrap or self adherent wrap, 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch foam or felt and a pair of taping scissors
The individual to be taped should be seated on a taping table or bench with leg extending off the edge. The foot should be at a 90 degree angle to the upper leg.
Circular Arch Taping – Step By Step Instructions
With this technique, you will apply the tape directly to the skin.You can apply the pre-wrap or self adherent wrap around the midfoot area for increased adherence and to reduce potential irritation . You may also use the felt pad to provide additional support to the arch area of the foot. We will describe this technique in a future post.
- To start, anchor the 1.5 inch non elastic athletic tape on the medial aspect of the foot. Position the anchor just proximal to the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe.
- Pull the tape laterally across the dorsum of the foot. Continue to pull the tape across the planter surface.. Finally, anchor the strip on the dorsal aspect of the foot. For best results, we suggest that you avoid excess roll tension as it may result in constriction of the foot when it is bearing weight.
- To complete the circular arch taping job, apply a further 3 to 5 additional tape strips proximally. As much as possible, you should overlap each strip by approximately 50% of the tape width.
Advantages Of This Technique
The circular arch taping technique is a common taping method used in sports medicine to provide support and stability to the arch of the foot. Here are some of the benefits of using the circular arch taping technique:
- Provides support: The circular arch taping technique helps to support the arch of the foot, which can help reduce pain and prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis.
- Improves stability: By providing support to the arch of the foot, the circular arch taping technique can also improve overall stability and balance, which is important for athletes who engage in high-impact activities.
- Reduces swelling: The pressure created by the tape can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the arch of the foot.
- Allows for natural movement: Unlike other taping methods that can restrict movement, the circular arch taping technique allows for natural movement of the foot while still providing support.
- Can be used in combination with other treatments: The circular arch taping technique can be used in combination with other treatments, such as stretching and strengthening exercises, to help improve foot health and prevent injuries.
Overall, the circular arch taping technique is a simple yet effective way to provide support and stability to the arch of the foot, which can help reduce pain, prevent injuries, and improve overall foot health.
While the circular arch taping technique has many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider:
- Skin irritation: The adhesive in the tape used for the circular arch taping technique can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals. It’s important to use a tape that is hypoallergenic and to monitor the skin for any signs of irritation.
- Taping expertise: The circular arch taping technique requires some level of expertise and training to perform correctly. Improper taping can lead to discomfort or even further injury.
- Limited duration: The tape used for the circular arch taping technique may lose its effectiveness over time, and may need to be removed and reapplied regularly. This can be time-consuming and may cause additional skin irritation.
- Limited range of motion: While the circular arch taping technique allows for natural movement of the foot, it can still restrict some range of motion in the foot and ankle.
- Cost: Depending on the frequency of taping, the cost of the tape used for the circular arch taping technique can add up over time.
It’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of any treatment or technique and to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for your specific needs.