Taping the ball of your foot does more than prevent uncomfortable blisters. It also protects you from getting the kind of callouses that can lead to such foot disorders as metatarsalgia, the foot pain centered between your toes and your arch. Properly applied, athletic tape not only prevents blisters and callouses, but can take some pressure off existing pain.
Determine how much athletic tape you will need by wrapping a tape measure around your feet horizontally at the widest part. Some people prefer to have the ends of the tape overlap at the center top of the feet, while others wrap the ball of the foot and bring each end to the first inch or two at the top left and right sides of the foot. Measure the length that best suits your preference.
Clean your feet with rubbing alcohol.
Pat feet dry with a clean cloth or towel.
Cut the athletic tape to the length that corresponds with the measurements you made.
Hold the tape near your foot with the sticky side facing your foot. Position the tape so it will be going across the ball of your foot, rather than lengthwise down your foot.
Keep the top edge of the tape from touching the base of your toes to prevent later ridges or creases
Wrap the tape around your foot either to join the ends at the top center of your foot, or so that each end is at either side at the top of your foot.
Cut off any extraneous tape, and press the tape onto your foot.
Apply a lubricant over the tape and the adjoining skin. This step smooths the edges of the tape, preventing snagging on socks.
Repeat the steps with your other foot, if desired.
Some people use adhesive on their feet prior to help putting on the athletic tape. If you have trouble keeping your tape in place, apply an adhesive made for wearing under athletic tape.
Unless you are injured, laying the tape on the floor sticky-side up, then stepping onto the tape so that it is centered at the ball of your feet, may be preferable than wrapping your foot from a seated position. The standing position ensures that your foot will be at the shape it normally is when you are putting your full weight on it.
Alcohol wipes are available in portable packages, and work well when taping your feet while away from home.
If you are hiking or otherwise expect to be away from home for a significant period, bring extra tape, adhesive, lubricant and scissors with you.
If you have a blister, put padding over the blister before wrapping the ball of your foot with athletic tape.
Roll socks on slowly so the athletic tape stays in place.
See your doctor if you suspect you have a chronic foot problem.
Ask your physician before you attempt to file down serious callouses or pop large blisters. Infection can set in if you don't prepare and clean the area carefully.
Ellen Douglas has written on food, gardening, education and the arts since 1992. Douglas has worked as a staff reporter for the Lakeville Journal newspaper group. Previously, she served as a communication specialist in the nonprofit field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut.