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How it Works: Metatarsalgia Taping

by Patty Weasler, RN May 18, 2021 0 Comments

Metatarsalgia is a common cause of foot pain. It’s characterized by pain in the ball of the foot and can be caused by overuse, high impact sports, and poor shoe support. Metatarsalgia taping is a treatment option that will help manage your pain and provide your foot with some necessary support. If you have pain around your forefoot, read on to learn more about metatarsalgia taping and how you can incorporate it into your treatment plan.

How Kinesiology Tape Works for Metatarsalgia Pain

Metatarsalgia pain is a symptom of another condition that is affecting your feet. These conditions can range from Morton’s neuroma or tight calf muscles to stress fractures in the foot and bunions. Ultimately, when a nerve that runs between the metatarsal bones in your feet is compressed you can develop metatarsalgia pain and inflammation.

Kinesiology tape is known for improving your proprioception (body awareness). The tape also creates a small amount of pull on the skin. This can improve both blood and lymphatic circulation. When used for metatarsalgia, the tape adds a protective layer to the ball of your foot. This will add cushioning which will reduce pressure and pain. Kinesio tape also can help correct the position of the metatarsals and reduce overall inflammation in the foot.

One of the best advantages of kinesiology tape is that it has minimal side effects. There’s no medication, invasive procedures, or expensive equipment involved.

Check out this article for a full resource on metatarsalgia treatment

Taping Techniques for Metatarsalgia Pain

Kinesiology taping techniques focus on where the toes attach to the foot. This covers the painful area on the bottom of the foot. Here are two taping techniques you can try in the comfort of your own home.

Ball of the Foot Taping

Start off cutting two pieces of kinesiology tape, the first piece 10 inches and the second piece 5 inches long. Sit down in a chair and keep your foot in a neutral position. Place the shorter piece of kinesiology tape over the ball of your foot with 80% stretch. Both ends of kt tape should slightly extend over the top of your foot. Now point your toes upward and with the second piece of tape anchor it over the first piece. Extend the tape over the bottom of your foot up to the back of your ankle, using 50% stretch. Smooth out the tape with your hand to activate the adhesive.

Bottom of the Foot Taping

This method is similar to the other taping technique we described above. However, this technique does not cover the ankle. Start off with one piece of 2 inch wide tape. Place one end on the ball of your foot and extend it to one inch before the heel with no stretch. Take a second piece of one inch wide tape and apply it to the ball of the foot with some stretch and press down the edges to the top of the foot. Rub the tape with your hands to activate the adhesive.

Exercise is another effective metatarsalgia treatment

Tips for Applying Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology taping takes some practice but can be done by anyone. Here are our best tips to get you started.

  • Cut round edges on the tape to prevent it from catching on clothes
  • Don’t apply it to broken or irritated skin
  • Don’t apply over areas of edema (swelling)
  • Measure and cut the tape carefully
  • Once the tape has been applied, rub the tape with your hands to activate the adhesive
  • Wait one hour after the tape has been applied to swim or shower
  • After the tape is wet, pat it dry with a towel

Kinesio taping has a small learning curve. If you need more help make a physical therapy appointment.

Tape vs. Inserts or Padding

Metatarsal pads are an effective treatment for metatarsalgia pain. These support pads shift weight away from the metatarsal heads. Metatarsal support pads work differently than kinesio taping and maybe a better fit for people during the acute phase of the condition. Toe separators will help to realign the bones but unlike kinesiology tape, these are bulky and might be uncomfortable while wearing shoes.

More Ways to Relieve Metatarsalgia Pain

There is no one right answer for everyone. Metatarsalgia treatment begins by removing irritants like high heels and weight-bearing exercises that cause foot problems. Then introduce simple treatments, orthotics, kinesiology taping. These together will provide pain relief from ball of foot pain.

Running with Metatarsalgia

Give Taping a Try

Metatarsalgia pain is a symptom of a condition. It can be caused by a sports injury, tendonitis, or one of many other problems. Recovery times will vary based on the severity. When kinesiology tape is combined with other treatments, it can provide long term pain relief. Talk to your doctor to get a firm diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that is right for your condition.


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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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