You may or may not know that my special interest is Sports Podiatry.
I was delighted to work with Cuxson Gerrard this weekend (the producers of my favourite sports tape: Hapla Wave) for the second time, to provide strapping training courses to other Podiatrists. This time we had a splendid group of 6 foot professionals ranging from all walks of life from to high level musculo-skeletal Podiatrists in an hospital environment to rural domiciliary podiatrists to Foot Health Practitioners.
Using this tape in a clinical setting is so effective as it offers almost instant relief, making a patient feel supported and well cared for. It can be used to alleviate discomfort in so many different situations. If you were going for a long hike with friends and you know at 5 miles your feet start to hurt then this strapping may be helpful when used prophylactically to keep you going further for longer. It can also be used as a precursor to orthoses to support the feet while you wait for your orthotics. I found my pitch side experience has given me a huge advantage and knowledge base to draw on in the clinical setting making for an enjoyable course as we can draw on real life examples.
The basic principles of this tape are to reduce pain from an injured of damaged piece of muscle, tendon or soft tissue by way of the Closed Gate Theory. This essentially is an overstimulation of the nerve endings in the skin to dampen the pain. To put this into context, If you bang your ‘funny bone’ you instinctively “rub it better”. This is the same principle. It floods the nerves with a pressure stimulus and therefore the pain stimulus is dampened. Additionally, the tape restricts some movement of the injured part offering it some rest and therefore ability to heal. Further, it is theorized that the wave pattern on the tape when applied to the skin causes a wrinkling effect which is thought to create an increased space for tissue fluid exchange helping to resolve excessive inflammation.
Elastic muscle tape such as Hapla Wave, can be used in a huge range of clinical settings. Podiatrists tend to see conditions that have been bothering the patient for a week or two (and in many cases longer) and you just can’t get better. Mostly, I see patients with plantar fasciopathy (plantar fasciitis), adult acquired flat foot, lateral ankle pain (outside of the ankle), dorsal foot pain (top of the foot) and achilles and calf pain. When treating all of these issues, taping can be very useful – but bu no means is it the complete answer. There is a whole arsenal of treatment options out there. This is another option to offer.
Emma Price – Director and Senior Podiatrist – Supafoot Cheltenham Ltd.
(BSc (Hons), BSc Podiatry (Hons), MChS, HCPC registered)