Taping and Strapping Injuries

12 October 2023

There are various reasons why we may use tape. It is usually used to help with weaknesses in the soft tissue and provide some protection and allow healing from injuries.

Tape can immobilise a structure to prevent movement. Limiting movement can be an effective way to allow someone to continue with sport or just general functional movement by adding some support and making the injury more comfortable to move around.

Tape can be used as a compression method to help manage swelling such as in the case of strains or sprains. Read more on the differences between strains and sprains.

Taping and Strapping

Tape can also be used as a first aid material to cover dressing to protect injuries such as burns or cuts. We have also used tape to help with blisters.

Tape can have a huge psychological impact when healing from injuries as feeling physiologically supported can often make you feel mentally stronger about your condition.

There are many different types of tape that can be used and knowing the correct one to use is important.

Conventional athletic tape is still used hugely in sports for securing joints and areas of weakness to allow for someone to continue with their activity or indeed to encourage healing during a period of rest.

The main tape in this case is called zinc oxide, which is a conventional sports tape that does not stretch very much at all and is designed to help stabilize an area and keep joints and structures in the correct position to prevent further injury.

There is another conventional tape called elastic adhesive bandages (EABs) which have the same job but have more stretch on them that can help with muscle strains as well as helping to control swelling. We use both of these tapes regularly with the football team we work with. We also use tape that has even more elasticity which is useful when only light compression is required.

Another tape which we use a lot, which has increased in popularity in recent years, is kinesiology tape. This brightly coloured fun-looking tape is ideal for use in injury healing and particularly useful for injury prevention. Kinesiology tape is designed to allow for muscles and joints to be supported without restricting too much range of movement, where immobilisation is not required.

Kinesiology tape can be used for many different conditions such as knee pain, back pain, hamstring strains, shoulder pain and sprains, tennis elbow, wrist pain, and much more. It can also help control swelling.

Kinesiology tape is relatively thin compared to conventional athletic tape and due to the elasticity it can be applied over and around the muscles and joints specifically unlike conventional tape. It can be worn for many days at a time, even in the shower whereas zinc oxide or EAB would typically be taken off after a day or so or after activity.

Both conventional athletic tape and kinesiology tape have their place in injury prevention and healing and we use all different types as part of our treatments and apply it as necessary.

Author: Cross Massage Therapy