Physiotherapists use strapping techniques to rehabilitate sports injuries and assist athletes in injury prevention. Strapping techniques or taping help to facilitate the normal healing process by promoting blood circulation to the area. It can also block and assist certain movements to protect the injured area.
Your physiotherapist will decide what type of tape to use. We use different types of strapping techniques, from rigid to elastic sports tape.
Kinesiology tape of K-Tape is an elastic tape that works well for sport injuries. The glue forms a certain s-type patterns which helps to lift the skin, thereby promoting blood circulation to the strapped area. The increased blood circulation in the injured area will help to drain swelling, decrease pain and accelerate the healing process. The tape can allow full range of motion and aid in blocking and assisting specific movement to help protect the injured site. K-tape works well for muscle strains, contusions and joint problems.
Fixamol and Rigid Tape
Fixamol is a soft white type of tape that we put as a first layer between the skin and rigid tape. This is a hypoallergic tape that helps to protect the skin from any adverse skin reactions. The rigid tape is a very sticky tape with no elasticity that helps to block certain movements. By blocking movements, we help the body to rest and to take the load of the injured site. This type of strapping works well with ligament injuries, meniscus injuries, and back pain.
Dynamic tape is made from a different material that allows stretching in all directions. K-tape only allows longitudinal stretching. It works like a bungee cord effect whereby it allows the muscle to recoil. The mechanical function of the tape alters movement patterns while absorbing load and redirecting energy back into movement allowing a full range of motion.
You never stretch this tape. You always put the injured area in an offloaded position before you strap it. It works well for certain sports injuries like Achilles tendinopathy.
EAB is a normal cotton stretchy tape that you can use for wounds to ankle sprains. Although we are using K-tape and rigid tape more often we sometimes use EAB to treat and prevent certain sport injuries sprains and bruising.
What to look out for when using tape
- Skin reactions – Some people are allergic to plaster. If your skin itches and there is a red rash around the paster then you should take the tape off immediately.
- Persisted pain – If you experience abnormal pain after you have been taped you should remove the tape immediately.
- Numbness or the skin changes colour – If you experience any of these symptoms it means that the tape is too tight. Please remove the tape or loosen it up.
How long can you wear tape?
Tape can usually be worn for 3 days. If there is any adverse effect discussed above one should remove it immediately. You can shower and bath with the tape unless your physio instructed you not to do so. Please do not use a hairdryer to dry the tape, rather just pat it dry with a towel. Heat can cause a skin reaction.
How should I remove my tape?
Most people try to remove their tape in the shower. Take my advice and don’t do it. The heat reacts with the tape that making it stickier and painful to remove. The best time is after an exercise session when your body is sweaty. Massage oil into the sticky area to help with glue removal. For our hairier customers, we recommend shaving before you get strapped, otherwise, you might end up getting a free wax!