Do plantar fascial straps work?
Plantar fascial straps or braces as they are sometimes mislabeled have been around for a long time. Doctors will sometimes dispense these in the office as a brace and charge your insurance for them even though they have no code from Medicare enabling them to do this. Buyers beware! The strap is made by multiple manufactures and is supposed to mimic the effects of a doctor tapping and strapping your foot for plantar fasciitis. Let’s review why the strap is not cost beneficial and really does not work.
First we will discuss the effects of strapping:
The doctor, physical therapist etc. will tape the foot in an attempt to decrease the pull on the plantar fascia. Although studies have shown this helps some, the tape does not hold the position on the patient for more than 45 minutes according to recent findings.
The tape is used to reduce the pull on the fascia thereby in theory reducing the strain on the fascia and decreasing heel motion or pronation and supination.
Now that we understand the mechanics behind taping let’s explore the plantar fascial strap.
The strap is made up of typically two pieces of nylon or Velcro stretchy material. One piece wraps around the ankle as a supportive upright. This top piece is only here to act as an anchor for the strap so it will not slip down. This piece does not do anything for the plantar fascia. The second strap which attaches to the top strap then is directed down and around the bottom of the foot to lift up on the fascia as the user walks and stands. Now, if we review the above taping method none of this comes into play when addressing the mechanics of plantar fasciitis. Seemingly the idea behind this madness is it will pull on the fascia, pulling on the fascia does nothing to help the fascia! We have tried these straps in a clinical setting and find they do not stay in place; do nothing to help alleviate the heel pain and are cumbersome to wear. We do not recommend these straps and feel they are a waste of time and money when so many other treatment options are available. Good luck with your heel pain journey.