Achilles Tendon TapingUpdated:
The following Achilles tendon taping techniques are designed to support and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon, calf and anterior aspect (front) of the ankle joint during activity. They can be used for both the treatment and prevention of Achilles tendon and calf injuries and some ankle injuries (such as Anterior Ankle Impingement).
You should discuss the suitability of these taping techniques with your physiotherapist prior to using them. Generally, they should only be applied provided they are comfortable and do not cause an increase in pain, discolouration, pins and needles, numbness or excessive redness of the foot and ankle.
What sort of tape should be used to tape my Achilles tendon?
There are many different tapes and bandages available for use by physiotherapists and patients. However, when the purpose is to restrict undesired motion, only adhesive, non-stretch (rigid) sports tape is appropriate. (For Achilles tendon taping 38mm is usually the most appropriate size). This should always be used in combination with hypoallergenic tape as an underlay, such as Fixomull.
Benefits of Achilles Tendon Taping
When used correctly, Achilles tendon taping techniques can be used to:
- Aid healing of certain injuries (such as Achilles Tendon Tears, Achilles Tendonitis, Calf Strain (Soleus), Calf Strain (Gastrocnemius), Anterior Ankle Impingement)
- Allow an earlier return to sport or activity following injury
- Reduce the likelihood of injury aggravation
- Prevent Achilles tendon or calf injuries during high risk sports (such as netball, basketball, football, soccer, running or sprinting etc.).
Indications for Achilles Tendon Taping
It is generally beneficial to tape the Achilles tendon in the following instances:
- Following certain injuries – Achilles tendon taping may be beneficial following sudden or gradual onset injuries to the Achilles tendon (such as Achilles Tendon Tears or Achilles Tendonitis) or for conditions such as a Calf Strain (gastrocnemius or soleus) or Anterior Ankle Impingement. These taping techniques are particularly useful during activities that aggravate or are likely to aggravate the existing condition (this should be discussed with the treating physiotherapist as certain injuries should not be taped).
- To prevent injury – Achilles tendon taping may be beneficial during sports or activities that place the Achilles tendon, calf or ankle at risk of injury (such as netball, basketball, football, soccer, running or sprinting etc.).
When should I avoid Achilles Tendon Taping?
Achilles taping should be avoided in the following instances:
- If you have certain injuries such as some fractures (this should be discussed with the treating physiotherapist).
- If you have a skin allergy to sports tape.
- If the taping technique results in an increase in symptoms such as pain, ache, discolouration, pins and needles, numbness or excessive redness of the foot or ankle.
- If you have circulatory problems.
Weaning off Achilles tendon tape in general activity is usually recommended as strength, range of movement and balance improves and symptoms reduce. In some instances though, taping during high-risk activity (such as some sports) is usually still recommended.
Achilles Tendon Taping Techniques
The following Achilles taping techniques may be used to provide support for the Achilles tendon, calf or ankle and are particularly beneficial for patients suffering from injuries such as: Achilles Tendon Tears, Achilles Tendonitis, Calf Strain (Soleus), Calf Strain (Gastrocnemius) or Anterior Ankle Impingement.
Generally, it is recommended that the lower leg is shaved 12 hours prior to taping (to prevent painful removal of hairs and skin irritation). The skin should be cleaned removing any grease or sweat. Low irritant Fixomull tape should be applied as an under-wrap to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation with rigid sports tape over the top of this.
Some or all of the following Achilles tendon taping techniques may be applied to tape the Achilles tendon and provide the support required for the individual.
Place a strip of tape around the lower 1/3 of the shin and another one around the forefoot, just before the toes (figure 1). This should be applied gently to prevent circulatory problems and is used as a fixation point for the other Achilles taping techniques.
Keeping the foot and ankle in a neutral position (i.e. the foot and toes should be approximately perpendicular to the lower leg – see figure 1), start the tape at the level of the lower leg anchor. Begin this taping technique by following the black arrow (figure 2) and conclude this taping technique at the level of the forefoot anchor by firmly following the white arrow (figure 2). Do 1 or 2 straight lines either centrally or slightly adjacent to each other depending on the size of the Achilles tendon and the amount of support required.
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Complete Achilles Tendon Taping
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Removing the tape
Care should be taken when removing the tape to avoid injury aggravation or skin damage. Blunt nosed tape scissors should be used. The tape should be removed slowly, pulling the tape back on itself with pressure placed on the skin as close as possible to the line of attachment of the tape.
Generally tape should be removed within 48 hours of tape application, or sooner, if there is any increase in pain or symptoms (including skin irritation or itchiness).
Physiotherapy products for Achilles Tendon Taping
- Fixomull (Low Irritant Tape)
- Rigid Sports Tape (38mm)
- Blunt Nosed Tape Scissors
- Kinesio Tape
- Leuko Tape
- Res-Off Tape Remover
- Calf Stretches
- Calf Strengthening Exercises
- Ankle Flexibility Exercises
- Ankle Strengthening Exercises
- Balance Exercises
Find a physiotherapist in your local area who can help with Achilles Tendon Taping.
- Achilles Tendon Tears
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Calf Strain (Soleus)
- Calf Strain (Gastrocnemius)
- Anterior Ankle Impingement
- R.I.C.E Regime
- Ice or Heat?
- How to Use Crutches
- Warming Up and Cooling Down
- Return to Running
- Return to Sport
- Choosing a Shoe
- Do I Need Orthotics?
Other Taping Techniques
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Achilles tendon taping techniques are designed to support and reduce stress on the Achilles tendon, calf and front of the ankle joint during activity. They can be used for both the treatment and prevention of Achilles tendon and calf injuries and some ankle injuries (such as Anterior Ankle Impingement).
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