Role of Taping and Bracing Techniques | MVP Boxing
mvpboxing  |   March 28, 2018, 07:24PM

The Role of Taping and Bracing

Strapping and taping techniques are some of the most important skills a physiotherapist, sports therapist or athletic trainer working with athletes (men, women) can possess.

These techniques can be utilized for various purposes such as prevention of injury, protection from re-injury and assisting in rehabilitation.

Prevention of Injury

Injury Prevention (prophylactic taping) is employed as a preventative measure when an increased risk of injury exists and when there’s a history of injury to a particular area.

Treatment Technique

The primary role of taping is to limit the movement in an injured joint to prevent excess or abnormal movement. It also provides support to the muscles surrounding the joint that may be under additional strain due to the ligament injury. As a treatment technique taping is utilized for stabilization and compression of an acute injury and is not intended to allow an athlete to participate in their desired sport.

Another benefit of taping is thought to be the enhanced proprioception (kinesthetic feedback) that the tape provides during movement (it’s thought to improve co-ordination). For example, if a taped ankle starts to invert (turn over) during a jump then the tape will restrict this and inform the body that it needs to contract muscles to prevent this movement in the ankle. Without this feedback the athlete may be unaware the ankle has started to invert and land on it badly injuring it again.

Taping should only be used in conjunction with a proper rehabilitation program including stretching, mobility and strengthening exercises.

Tape can also be used to protect unstable joints where repeated or severe ligament damage has resulted in stretching of the ligaments and joint laxity. For example, athletes who repeatedly suffer ankle sprains due to laxity of the joint may benefit from taping or wearing an ankle brace to support the joint because the ligaments have been stretched too much to do their job properly.

Tape may also be utilized to secure protective pads and dressings.

Types of Sports Strapping Tape

There are many different types of tape used for strapping and taping in sport. The three main types used are zinc oxide tape, elastic adhesive bandage and elastic cohesive bandage.

Zinc Oxide Tape:

Zinc oxide tape is usually white (sometimes tan or brown) in color, non elastic and sticky. It is given the common name zinc oxide tape due to the glue containing zinc oxide (although other types of tape may have glue containing zinc oxide. It comes in a variety of widths and is easy to tear. It is used in a variety of applications, particularly limiting the range of movement of a joint or protecting the skin against blisters.

Sometimes under wrap (a soft foam type tape) is used underneath zinc oxide tape to protect the skin. Best results are obtained from applying tape directly to the skin but on particularly hairy clients who choose not to shave this is the next best option. When using under wrap a skin adhesive is required to ensure the under wrap sticks as well as possible to the skin.

Zinc oxide tape should never be used to surround or enclose muscles, as these are likely to expand during exercises and result in restricted blood flow to the area.

Elastic Adhesive Bandage:

Elastic adhesive bandage or EAB as it is often known is an elastic material type tape that is adhesive and will stick to skin. It comes in a variety of widths but most common is 2 inch (5cm) and 3 inch (7.5cm). EAB is too strong to be torn with the fingers and should be cut with scissors or special tape cutters.

EAB is particularly useful for taping around muscles as they will expand and during exercise and the tape will allow this to some extent. It is often used to apply anchors from which zinc oxide tape is applied to restriction joint movement.

Cohesive Bandage:

Cohesive bandage is an elastic bandage, which will stick to itself but not the skin. It does not have any sticky or adhesive layer to make it stick to skin. Cohesive bandages come in a wide variety of colors, are elastic and are very easy to tear with the fingers. They are commonly used for wrapping joints, finishing off and covering taping and for compression to injured joints or muscles.

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