Guidelines of Taping
Although taping is widely regarded as an avenue of injury prevention and treatment, it is important to understand when, how and more importantly why to use it.
In the last couple of years there has been a massive craze in multi-coloured and funky taping patterns seen across athletes, but what exactly do they do? The evidence is quite stretchy when talking about actual changes in electromyography (EMG) muscular activation or proprioception (the bodies ability to recognize where it is in space) or even range of motion of the joint. So why then do it? Apart from the “cool” factor there are some instances where taping a certain part of the body can greatly aid in the reduction of pain or irritation to the area, or even preventing further injury , e.g. ankle taping.
When to Tape:
Prior to taping any body part it is imperative to consult a medical professional on the correct methods of taping, which brand of tape to use as some people may be allergic to them, or of course if it is appropriate for them . A comprehensive exercise plan is recommended prior to considering tape as a method of treatment as studies have shown that taping areas such as the pelvis can actually REDUCE the deep core muscles activation due to the tape taking or mimicking the role of muscles, or in fact lose proprioception in the ankle for those who have been taping for long periods of time.
The Most Common Areas Where Taping May Help:
Ankles: Following acute sprain to help prevent further damage, or for high grade tears or chronic ankle sprains during high level activity
Knees: E.g. for acute Patellofemoral pain syndrome to decrease irritation and friction due to mal-tracking of the patella (knee cap), frequent dislocation or subluxations, or tendinopathies or tendinitis.
Shoulders: E.g. Effective in acute rehabilitation of Rotator cuff Injuries, Sub Acromial/Coracoid Impingement, or frequent dislocations or subluxations
How to Tape:
There are plenty of instructional videos online which can guide people on how to tape specific body parts however it is recommended that a medical professional’s advice is consulted in order to make it specific as possible.
Taping a body part is not something that should be relied on. It is merely another treatment option available out there IF appropriate. A specific assessment and tailored rehabilitation program, which taping may or may not be a part of, is the best way to address any issues.
Written By Nicholas Charalambous
Physiotherapist at MD Health