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What is Sports Taping and when/why to use it?
Sports taping is a technique that involves taping your skin in order to keep the bones and muscles in a stable position while playing sports. This minimizes pain and speeds healing. The athletic tape can be a rigid, elastic or Kinesio tape.
Why use Taping?
Physiotherapists use taping to:
1. Reduce your pain and inflammation
Sports taping can mitigate your pain, possibly owing to its “mechanical-lifting properties” that reduce the pressure on the pain receptors lying beneath your skin by lifting the skin away from the tissues underneath it. Taping along the inflamed tissue can also ease inflammation. Altogether, these benefits enhance physical performance during sports.
2. Improve joint stability and reduce the odds of recurrent injury
Taping stimulates the nerve endings in your skin, which helps promote your joint proprioceptive sense —a sense that enables your body to know where exactly your limbs are positioned in space. The enhanced proprioceptive sense shores up your joints and muscles during activity, thus preventing injury.
The ability to know where your limbs are precisely placed in space during a sporting activity also minimizes your risk of incurring re-injury after returning to sports.
What are the common injuries/conditions that require Sports Taping?
The most common sporting injuries that can be treated with taping are sprains and strains. Tuft toe (a sprain of the great toe), whiplash-associated injury to the neck and cervical spine, tendonitis (inflammation of tendons), shoulder impingement, and lower back pain are a few other conditions that benefit from sports taping.
What parts of the body can be taped?
The sports tape can be applied to virtually any body part, including:
- Achilles’ heel and ankle
- Lower back
- Neck, shoulders, and upper back
What is Kinesio Taping?
Kinesio taping is a relatively innovative taping technique that involves applying an elastic adhesive, Kinesio tape over the injured area with the purpose of rehabilitation and recovery. It is unique from the traditional white athletic tape in various aspects.
First, the athletic tape is only structurally supportive whereas the Kinesio tape may also offer added therapeutic benefits. It is designed to promote your body's natural healing mechanism while shoring up and stabilizing your muscles and joints without restricting the range of motion and circulation.
Second, the kinesiology tape has inherent elastic properties and stretches in only one direction. Depending on the manufacture, the tape can be stretched to about 140%-190% of its original length prior to application. These properties create a "mechanical-lifting effect.” This lifting effect is what provides a constant pulling (shear) force to your skin, promotes blood flow and lymph drainage, and aids healing.
Third, the Kinesio tape is water-resistant, allowing it to be worn for several days without the need of removing it.
The Kinesio tape yields excellent results for various sporting injuries, including but not limited to sprains (in particular ankle sprains), joint instability or deformity.
Who can use Kinesio Taping?
Kinesio taping can be used by physiotherapists, athletes or anyone suffering from musculoskeletal injuries or inflammatory muscle, joint, and bone conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.