Gout can be debilitating… And the worst part is that it can come on suddenly. You can manage the pain by taking NSAIDs, icing, and revamping your diet. Have you considered using KT tape for gout?
It might not seem like much. But this simple method can be quite effective at reducing pain and swelling. Keep some KT tape around the house when you need extra support and pain relief!
Here’s what you should know about managing your gout in the big toe and ankle with the help of KT tape, including the many benefits and how to do it properly.
Does Taping With KT Tape Help With Gout?
Yes, taping with KT tape can help with the pain and swelling that comes with gout. It’s important to know that taping your toe won’t fix or heal gout—it’s more of a compression measure to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected part of your foot.
KT tape is an excellent way to provide support but allows flexibility. It’s also known to help increase circulation in the applied area, which helps excess fluid—swelling—to drain quickly and speeds up recovery.
Plus, the compression from the tape provides some relief from the pain associated with gout, and it’s easy to wear KT tape throughout the day. You should find that your mobility is closer to normal, and you can even exercise with less pain.
Benefits of Taping for Gout
The biggest benefit of taping for gout is that it’s easy, accessible, and not intrusive. Here are some benefits you can expect when taping your foot for gout.
Gout can contribute to poor circulation. But because the feet are the furthest away from the heart, they can have naturally poor circulation, especially for those who spend hours sitting during the day.
KT tape provides gentle compression to the skin, which stimulates circulation. In addition to helping with gout, your feet stay warmer, you experience less numbness and tingling, and other pains in your feet are reduced.
KT tape helps circulation in the area where it’s applied. Increased circulation equals better fluid drainage, meaning swelling— an accumulation of fluid—should improve fairly quickly.
This means reduced pressure and pain and fitting into your shoes comfortably and easily!
Supports the Joint
When gout flares up, it can be difficult to move the joint due to pain and stiffness. Applying KT tape can provide extra stability in the joint, stabilizing it but still allowing for flexibility so you can move comfortably.
Improve Range of Motion
Thanks to the flexibility of KT tape, you can still move comfortably when your ankle or toe is taped. Your range of motion in the affected area could be better than without the tape, so you might also find walking easier.
Better circulation and added support both contribute to pain relief. If you’re looking for a way to reduce your use of painkillers, this could be it. It might not completely remove the pain, but it makes a significant difference.
Reduce Future Flare-Ups
Using KT tape regularly on the affected areas can reduce the chances of future flare-ups. KT tape doesn’t cure or prevent gout; you will still experience future attacks.
But regular use of KT tape to keep the affected joint well-supported and improve circulation in the area can reduce inflammation.
You don’t have to wait until you’re in the middle of a gout attack to tape your foot—it can be used as a preventative measure!
What Tape Should You Use?
KT tape is by far the best choice of tape to use for gout. It’s flexible and doesn’t limit your range of motion. It provides a light compressive massage, improves circulation, is stretchy and easy to apply, and offers light but significant support.
If you only have athletic tape or zinc oxide tape, it’s better than nothing. But we highly recommend choosing KT tape if you’re able. You can keep it on for much longer than other types—three to four days.
Step-By-Step Guide: How to Tape Your Big Toe
Ready to try KT tape for gout in your big toe? Here’s how to do it right so you can reap the benefits.
Get Your Supplies Together
You only need one piece of KT tape to wrap around your toe. It’s preferable to round the corners of the tape, which helps prevent fraying over the days you wear it.
Prepare the Toe for Taping
Make sure the foot is washed just before application. There should be no hint of dirt, oil, or lotion. It should be completely dry before you start taping.
You can do this yourself, but it might be easier to have someone help you the first time! You’ll want to sit on a bench or bed with your affected foot hanging slightly over the edge, so the person applying the tape can reach it from all angles.
How to Tape the Big Toe
Begin by breaking off the tape about an inch away from one end. This will be your anchor point—you want to anchor it on your painful toe, with the rest of the tape running down your foot. Make
sure the anchor point is nicely wrapped around the top of your toe, just below your toenail.
Flex the toe slightly downwards at this point, and lay the tape across the top of the foot with about a 50 percent stretch. Once you get past the ankle, you can release the stretch and anchor the other end of the tape here.
Rub the tape vigorously—without hurting yourself or the person being taped—to help it stick to the skin and activate the adhesive.
You’ll cut your single strip into two long strips for this method. Take one of those pieces, and cut it a little shorter—into two strips of about ⅓ and ⅔. Round the corners.
Grab the shortest strip and break the backing right in the middle. Peel back each edge so the sticky middle is exposed. You want to slide this piece carefully between your big toe and the one next to it.
Stretch it to about 80 percent of your big toe and stick it to the underside of your big toe. Lay the two ends across the top of the toe with no stretch. Rub the tape to activate the adhesive.
Then grab the ⅔ piece. Tear of a small anchor point on one end. Hold the intact end just underneath your affected toe, on the fatty pad, and measure it back so the sticky end anchors just behind your heel.
Run the strip underneath your foot’s arch with no stretch. At the base of the toe, you want to apply about a 10 percent stretch underneath the toe. Lay the last anchor piece down without any stretch.
Rub vigorously to ensure it’s flat and the adhesive is activated.
Taping For Gout in the Ankle
Gout can occur in the ankle as well. If you struggle with this, here’s a way to tape your ankle for relief and support. Like with the toe, prepare your tape first and make sure the foot is clean and dry.
Place the ankle in a 90-degree position—flexed slightly upwards. Tear the paper backing off a small anchor point on one end. You need to use the intact end to measure where to place your anchor point—lay it on the inner heel, running underneath the foot and coming up underneath the foot and to the outer ankle.
Anchor the sticky end here. Lay it down with no stretch over the outer ankle bone. Apply a stretch of about 50 percent and run it underneath the heel until it comes up underneath the inner ankle.
Grab another full strip and create an anchor point. Again, use the other end to measure by placing it against the outer edge of your foot—about midway between your heel and toes—and running it around the back of your heel. Anchor the sticky edge wherever it lands.
Peel off the backing, leaving a small area to hold. Apply about a 50 percent stretch and run the tape around the back of the heel and then underneath the heel/arch to meet the anchor point on the inner arch. Remember, this anchor point should also have no stretch.
With one last piece of tape, you want to perform the exact opposite of this wrap—measuring from the inner edge of the foot, anchoring on the outer edge, and wrapping it under and around to meet the anchor point again.
Tips for Taping With Gout
Try these tips for applying KT tape effectively and easily!
- Ice your toe/ankle before applying: Apply for 10 to 15 minutes, about 10 minutes before you apply the tape. This will reduce any swelling.
- If tension hurts, apply tape with no stretch: It will still provide some support but without as much compression and pull on the skin.
- Use smaller pieces: Cut each strip in half if you struggle to handle a full piece of tape. Just make sure to still apply them with the right stretch and in the right places.
- Use a mirror if you can’t see properly: If you have nobody to help you apply the tape, using a mirror can help you place the tape correctly.