Athletic Tape

Athletic Tape and Injury Prevention: Tapes & Wraps

Athletic tape can be used to aid the muscles all over the body. It supports the muscles in many ways, including proprioception, the innate ability to determine where the limbs are positioned. It also limits the movement of the muscles to prevent further injury.

Athletic tape is often used to:

  • Prevent the overuse of muscles
  • Improve muscle contraction
  • Support injured or weak muscles
  • Open elbows
  • Strengthen shoulders
  • Support knees
  • Stabilize ankles

In sports, athletic tape can be used as a pre-wrap or directly to the skin to keep the muscles and bones stable during the game or any other physical activity.

This kind of tape has similar characteristics to elastic therapeutic and surgical tape but is pressure-sensitive.

Once the tape is attached to the skin, it speeds up the recovery process, reduces pain, and prevents injuries. This is typically applied to help the muscles recover from overuse.

The tape’s primary purpose is to prevent the injured joint from making any movement that will make it worse.

The tape also functions to:

  • Protect the injured body part while it’s healing
  • Ensure that the injured joint won’t suffer from another injury
  • Secure bandages or dressing
  • Secure a splint or serve as a splint
  • Support all anatomy involved in the injury
  • Reduce swelling by compressing soft tissues

Athletic tapes that come in many forms, including arrowhead tapes and wraps, offer two main benefits: Injury prevention and injury management.

Injury prevention:

Using athletic tape is among the main preventative steps in reducing injuries, especially in collision sports. The injuries caused by such sports often happen due to extrinsic causes, such as collisions with equipment or other players. The Self Adhesive Athletic Tape can help in minimizing the occurrence of injuries and reduce their severity.

Injury management:

Athletic tape is typically applied in managing symptoms of chronic injuries, including turf toe, patella-femoral syndrome, and shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome.

Other taping methods, such as Kinesio taping, are used in addition to other therapies to treat shoulder pain. Taping is also used to reduce pain or shorten the inflamed region when placed along the irritated or nerve tract of inflamed tissue.

More about Athletic Tape and Injury Prevention:

As athletes get more serious in any sport, they keep finding new ways to preserve their health while enhancing their performance. One of the most tried and tested applications both in sports and personal fitness is athletic taping.

Athletic tapes are equally used by sports novices or those who are only beginning to get serious with fitness, NBA players, track stars, and more.

A more rigid athletic tape is required to prevent injury. Rigid tape is made of sticky and strong material that holds the joint and restricts its movement while providing firm support. The tape helps keep the bones and muscles in a position where they won’t likely get injured. This kind of support can prevent injuries caused by competitive sports, exercise, breaks, and sprains.

Another type of tape used in preventing injuries is elastic or flexible tape. The material of the tape allows the skin to breathe once applied. This tape is less restrictive than rigid tape and is considered one of the most popular athletic tapes.

The popularity of elastic tape was boosted when most of the athletes were seen wearing the Colored Athletic Tape on their skin while competing in 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Here’s a look at the common uses of elastic tape:

  • Alleviation of the symptoms caused by chronic cramps or muscle fatigue when doing workouts
  • Reduction of inflammation by increasing the athlete’s range of motion
  • Athletes keep their comfort and flexibility while competing or exercising as the tape does not restrict their movements

The tape slightly lifts the skin while an athlete is preparing for exercise.

It helps in providing the space between the muscles and skin, which can lead to increased lymphatic drainage and blood flow. As a result, it prevents common injuries, such as spasms and muscle cramps.

No matter what the injury is, when you are using athletic tape, you need to ensure it’s applied by a professional or someone who is certified athletic trainer.

The tape will only work, if appropriately applied to the body parts that are injured, and it also depends on the sports being played.

Different Types of Athletic Tapes and Alternatives

Aside from rigid tape and elastic tape, you can choose from these other types of tape:

  • Kinesio

This tape glides as you move and easily adjusts to your skin.

  • Bandage

The material sticks to each other despite not having glue in them.

  • Felt tape

This tape is typically used as a skin barrier and does not have any glue to the material.

  • Under tape

It uses a different fabric and allows air to access the skin, resulting in easy movements.

  • Composition

You can choose athletic tapes made of synthetic fibers, bleached or unbleached cotton, or a combination of synthetic and cotton.

  • Number of woof and warp

The higher the number of the tape’s horizontal woof and vertical warp threads, the higher the tensile strength, quality, durability, easy removal, and better adhesive. The threads of the tape range from 120 to 150 per square inch. The higher the thread count may mean higher quality, but it also equates to being more expensive.

  • Alternatives

Instead of tape, the common alternative used to ensure the affected area is stable is the use of wraps and braces. However, tapes do not change muscular activity, while braces do.

It is ideal to buy original products developed by trusted brands and carried by reputable sellers, such as Hampton Adams. Here, you can ensure that you are getting high-quality materials that can protect you from injuries no matter what your sport is.

The Common Sports Where Athletic Tape is Used for Injury Prevention

Here are the sports where athletes commonly resort to athletic tapes to prevent injuries and, in some cases, as part of their rehabilitation:

1. CrossFit

A competitive sport that requires a high-intensity fitness regimen. It involves various training programs, including strongman, jump training or plyometrics, calisthenics, gymnastics, and weight training.

Among the common injuries faced by athletes involved in this sport are shoulder pains and hand tears. Tapes help prevent injuries that many athletes, no matter how physically fit they are, pose a high risk of experiencing. For this sport, it is best to use lightweight and flexible adhesives.

2. Bodybuilding

The hands are more prone to injuries than the other body parts in this sport. For one, barbells feel harsh on the hands. The movement and friction might leave your hands strained and callused.

Bodybuilders usually begin holding barbells with a weight of 40 pounds, minus the plates. The 40-pound weight alone would put a lot of pressure on your fingers and palms. While you can protect your hands by wearing gloves, they may not always provide sufficient protection. This is where using tapes could help.

The tape can protect your fingers and hands during training. They will face less stress and reduce the chances of having torn ligaments and painful blisters. The best type of tape for this sport is stretch tape since your hands are often subjected to extreme work and abuse.

3. Ballet

Each seemingly perfect movement of a ballet dancer puts their feet at risk of suffering from injuries if unprotected. Each foot has more than 100 ligaments, tendons, muscles, 33 joints, and 26 bones.

A ballet dancer glides on stage with their toes tipped. The toes are not that strong to carry your body weight, so you have to ensure they are always protected. You must have the tape placed by a professional.

They know which parts of the feet need the most protection and how to place the athletic tape to prevent injuries while dancing. For this purpose, rigid adhesive tape is commonly applied to the dancer’s ankles and toes. It feels comfortable and fit despite the ballet slippers being tight.

4. Gymnastics

The body parts most frequently used by gymnasts are their ankles and wrists. Taping will keep them protected during practice and competitions while allowing them to move comfortably.

However, injuries happen often in this sport, but athletic tape can minimize its impact and severity. The tape must be applied by a pro. The rigid adhesive tapes are also the most commonly used tape for this sport.

Review

Athletic taping is commonly done in sports and activities that require strenuous physical movements. It is done using athletic tape that comes in many types and materials. You have to choose the suitable tape depending on how you intend to use them. For the tape to work in helping prevent injuries or aid in the rehabilitation process, it is best to have it applied by a pro.

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