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How to Protect Your Achilles Tendon with Taping

by Patty Weasler, RN November 18, 2020 0 Comments

taping foot

Tendonitis treatment begins with simple strategies such as rest, ice, and stretching. When your body is ready to get moving again Achilles tendon taping techniques can give you the added support to feel comfortable with exercise. Keep reading to learn more about Achilles tendon taping and how it can be brought into your treatment plan.

How Taping Helps Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius) to the heel bone. When there is an Achilles tendon injury, caused by overuse, there is inflammation, pain, and potentially micro tears in the tendon itself. By taping the Achilles tendon and calf you are supporting the structures to prevent further injury and improve healing. There are two types of tape used in sports medicine--read on to learn more about them.

More Achilles Tendinitis Treatments

Types of Taping

Kinesiology tape and athletic tape are often talked about interchangeably but are different in almost every aspect. Take a quick look at each here, then below we will go into more detail on how each type of tape works and the most common techniques for Achilles tendonitis.

Athletic tape

  • Rigid
  • non-breathable sports tape
  • Been used in physical therapy offices for years. 
  • Wrapped around joints and muscles to give additional support and compression. 
  • Similar experience as wearing a brace 
  • High level of support

Kinesiology tape

  • Flexible
  • breathable sports tape
  • Relatively new to the sports medicine world
  • Sometimes called kinesio tape or KT tape 
  • Doesn’t provide significant joint support but slightly lifts the skin to increase both blood and lymphatic circulation. 
  • Improves healing time and proprioception. 
  • Often used after the immediate injury phase has passed to prevent reinjury

Try these Achilles tendon stretches in conjunction with taping techniques for a comprehensive recovery plan.

Stretches for Achilles Tendonitis

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape can be used for an Achilles tendon injury by using a taping technique that lifts the skin to allow more blood flow to the tissue. This enhances overall healing in the area. Additionally, kinesio taping offloads the joint, allowing the injured area time to heal. Below is a common kinesiology taping technique you can use for your Achilles tendon.

How to Tape the Achilles Tendon

  1. Start off by sitting in a chair and bring your affected foot up onto the opposite knee. 
  2. Flex your ankle and place a two-inch anchor on the bottom of your foot with the unused portion of tape directed towards your calf muscles.
  3. Lay the tape down onto your calf with a light stretch. 
  4. Take a half piece of kinesiology tape and with moderate stretch lay it over the back of the heel. 
  5. You can use a second half-piece of tape and place it over any other points of pain.

Athletic Tape

Athletic tape greatly reduces your range of motion by surrounding your ankle with tape. Most people are familiar with using athletic tape for ankle sprains and wrist injuries. But using it for your Achilles tendon can give you more support as your tendon heals. Check out Achilles tendon taping with athletic tape below. 

How to Wrap the Achilles Tendon

  1. Start off by applying under wrap over the foot and ankle. 
  2. Wrap two pieces of athletic tape as an anchor over the upper part of the ankle and ball of the foot. 
  3. Starting at the back of the calf, over the anchor strip, lay one piece of wide athletic tape down to extend to the anchor piece on the bottom of the foot. 
  4. Continue with two more pieces of wide athletic tape, making a small X.
  5. Secure the wide athletic tape with additional anchor pieces over the ankle and foot.

When Should I Avoid Taping?

Taping your Achilles tendon is not always the right decision. Here are the instances in which you should avoid taping.

  • Torn or ruptured your Achilles tendon
  • Bone fracture
  • Skin wounds or injuries
  • Tape sensitivity
  • Circulation problems

The Right Taping Technique

Achilles tendon taping can involve one of two types of tape, athletic tape or kinesiology tape. Athletic tape creates a firm base to reduce movement, this gives the tendon and other tissues in the area time to heal. Kinesiology tape works differently by increasing blood flow to the area and body awareness. Whichever tape you choose, make sure to talk to a physical therapist or your doctor before you begin. You’ll want to make sure taping is the right decision for your injury.

Sources:

https://www.physioadvisor.com.au/health/taping-techniques-lower-body/achilles-tendon/

https://www.muellersportsmed.com/blog/post/achilles-tendinitis-treatment-using-kinesiology-tape

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Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.



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