Athletic Tape’s Impact on Your Exercise and Health
Kinesiology taping, or athletic taping, is the process of applying a thin, stretchy, elastic tape directly to the skin in order to maintain a stable position of bones and muscles during athletic activity. It is a methodology that uses tape attached to the skin, to keep muscles or bones in a certain position. This reduces pain and aids recovery. Taping is usually used to help recover from overuse and other injuries. The tape is nearly identical to human skin, and can be worn without any constriction in movement.
Athletic taping is most often used to restrict the motion of an injured joint, compress soft tissues to reduce swelling, support anatomical structure involved in an injury, serve as a splint or to secure a splint, protect the injured joint from re-injury, and to protect the injured area while it is in the healing process.
Taping supports the ligaments and capsules of unstable joints by limiting excessive or abnormal anatomical movement. It also enhances proprioceptive feedback from the limb or joint. Finally, taping can support injuries at the muscle-tendon units by compressing and limiting movement and securing protective pads, dressings, and splints.
Injury Prevention: Athletic taping is one of the top preventative measures for reducing injuries in collision sports. These injuries often occur as a result of collision with other players or equipment. Athletic taping has also been shown to reduce the severity of injuries, as well as to prevent the occurrence of injury in most sports.
Injury Management: Tape is often applied to manage symptoms of chronic injuries such as medial tibial stress syndrome, also known as shin splints, patella-femoral syndrome, and turf-toe. Therapists and trainers apply athletic tape to ease pain symptoms as well. Taping along the nerve tract of irritated or inflamed tissue can shorten the inflamed region, thereby reducing pain.
Other post-injury benefits of athletic taping include:
- Stabilizing and supporting joints after injuries to the muscle or ligament
- Assisting and allowing the athlete to return to activity after minor injuries
- Preventing and reducing further harm to injured area
- Maintaining proper biomechanics during activity
- Preventing neuromuscular damage
- Reducing force on the area during activity
How to Apply Kinesiology Tape
- The most important thing to remember is to have a professional apply the tape, as you need to have extensive knowledge of muscles, bones, and nerves.
- Kinesiology tape should not be applied on any skin surface that is damaged or broken.
- Skin should be dry and free of any lotions or oils. Clean with soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Ensure your skin is dry before applying. Remove excessive hair.
- Wait at least one hour after application before any sweaty activity or showering. After showering, dry the tape with a towel.
At Impact Physical Therapy, we want the best for all of our patients. Our therapists are fully trained in kinesiology/athletic taping. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.