A sports tape helps an injury by increasing blood floor to decrease swelling and pain and offering support to help the affected area heal quickly.
The sports and fitness industry is continually evolving, with companies introducing new products to help deal with injuries and enhance performance. One of the oldest and most effective inventions is the sports tape, also known as the athletic tape. The sports tape is elastic and can extend beyond its normal length when taping different body parts to reduce pain, increase performance, and more. The taping method is used as a therapeutic technique by practitioners in many fields, including acute injury care, rehabilitation and more. Keep reading to know what a sports tape is, how it helps with injuries, its benefits and other relevant information.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Sports Tape?
- 2 How Does a Sports Tape Assist Injuries?
- 3 The Benefits of Using a Sports Tape
- 4 Three Different Types of Sports Tapes
- 5 Various Uses of a Sports Tape
- 6 Perks for Weekend Warriors and Health Practitioners
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 7.1 When should you not use sports tape?
- 7.2 Does taping help healing?
- 7.3 Does sports tape really work?
- 7.4 How long do you leave tape on an injury?
- 7.5 Is it OK to sleep with sports tape?
- 7.6 What are the side effects of KT tape?
- 7.7 What are the disadvantages of taping?
- 7.8 What injuries need taping?
- 7.9 What are the pros and cons of taping?
- 7.10 When should KT tape not be used?
- 7.11 Who should not use kinesio tape?
- 7.12 Can you put athletic tape on an open wound?
- 7.13 When should you tape an injury?
- 7.14 What is the difference between sports tape and KT tape?
- 7.15 How long does sports tape last?
- 7.16 Should athletic tape be tight?
- 7.17 How do you remove sports tape?
- 7.18 What happens if you leave tape on for too long?
- 7.19 How does kinesiology tape work?
What is a Sports Tape?
Sports tape is an elastic taping applied directly to the skin to help bones and muscles stay in a stable position during athletic activity. The tape can also work as a bandage for sprained body parts, which helps in accelerating healing. Sports tape is made up of polyester and cotton with elastic fibers or pure cotton and elastic fibers. The tape also has acrylic adhesive components to make it stick to the skin. This tape was first introduced in the late 1970s by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase. Since then, sports tape has been adopted as a modality for soft tissue injury, pain management, edema reduction and tissues and joints alignment.
How Does a Sports Tape Assist Injuries?
A sports tape helps injuries based on the science of supporting the body while allowing the free flow of blood and other body fluids to the affected area. Wrapping the sports tape around an injury stabilizes the area by applying pressure that keeps connective tissues around it intact. In the meantime, it encourages the flow of blood, lymph and other fluids to heal the injury without needing surgery or medications.
The Benefits of Using a Sports Tape
Provide Support and Stability
One of the main benefits of a sports tape is providing support and stability to weaker body parts without restraining the range of motion. Taping various parts of the body that often veer away from their natural position can help provide the needed stability. The patella tendon and the navicular bone are some of the most common body parts often supported by the tape.
Besides offering support and stability, sports tape is beneficial in preventing injuries, particularly among athletes. By gently applying pressure to bones or muscles in a specific position, a sports tape can help prevent breaks, sprains, and other injuries that may happen during exercise and sporting activities.
A sports tape is also significant in pain relief. The decompression force applied by the tape on injured body parts is effective in disrupting and relieving pain.
Reduce Swelling and Edema
Sports tape can help reduce congestion causing inflammation on injured body parts while facilitating blood and lymph circulation. Circulation will cleanse the affected parts, thus reducing swelling and edema.
Taping can also help improve proprioception by providing feedback regarding your body’s location and posture. When wrapped around the affected body part, the sports tape offers a robust proprioceptive cue thanks to its contact with the skin, thus increasing your body’s awareness and ability to sense action, movement, and location.
Increase Confidence and Offer Psychological Support
Wrapping the sports tape on your body parts reduces pain and enhances performance. Having the tape wrapped on a weak or injured area to offer support and protection against injury may make you feel more confident. It will also offer you the psychological support needed to engage in physical exercises and sports.
Another perk of a sports tape is improving posture. Postural taping is helpful in re-educating muscles that have lost their rightful position after injury or illness. By gently and continuously supporting proper body position, the tape can make the affected body parts align back to their correct posture.
When injuries occur, sports tape can come in handy during rehabilitation. Using the tape to wrap the injured parts and limit the range of motion for the affected joints and muscles can result in faster healing. The tape can also serve as a splint for twisted joints and ligaments to enhance recovery. It also aids in rehabilitation by reducing swelling and alleviating pain.
Three Different Types of Sports Tapes
Rigid and Elastic Tapes
Rigid sports tapes are less stretchable. They are valuable for offering optimal support for greater stability and reducing excessive joint movement to prevent injuries. On the other hand, elastic sports tapes are more flexible and helpful in providing moderate support.
A kinesio tape is a sturdy, stretchy tape made using nylon and cotton. It offers maximum support and stability while enhancing normal blood flow to the affected areas.
Kenso Kase Tape
Originally designed by Dr. Kenzo Kase, the kenso kase tape is elastic and significant in enabling the natural healing of injured body parts. Kinesio kase tape provides the needed support and stability to the affected area without interfering with bodily fluid circulation and range of motion.
Various Uses of a Sports Tape
Range of Motion Training
One common use of a sports tape is doing a range of motion exercises. Whether you are recovering from joint injuries or want to maintain mobility, you can use a sports tape to perform a range of motion exercises. The exercises can decrease pain, improve balance, enhance joint movement, and increase the function of a joint, muscle, or limb.
Treatment of Acute Injuries
A sports tape effectively treats acute injuries, including strains, sprains, and other ailments affecting joints and muscles. When wrapped around the injured body part, the tape enhances healing by aligning connective tissues and promoting normal blood and lymph circulation.
Treatment of Chronic Injuries
Aside from treating acute injuries, a sports tape can also manage chronic injuries like tennis elbow, heel inflammation, stress fractures, and ankle sprain. By offering support and enabling free blood flow, the tape helps reduce pain and facilitate healing.
Perks for Weekend Warriors and Health Practitioners
Better Blood and Lymphatic Fluid Flow
Whether you are injured or not, using a sports tape can help improve blood flow and lymphatic movement in your body by creating convolutions. Enhanced blood and lymphatic fluid movement mean enhanced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your organs and tissues, as well as the removal of carbon dioxide and waste. The free flow of bodily fluids in your body will improve your general health and well-being.
Improved Muscle Function and Movement
A sports tape can enhance your muscle’s function and movement. This is primarily because the tape improves performance by lessening pain and increasing the range of motion for different muscles. It also enhances function and movement by supporting tired body parts.
Support Connective and Soft Tissue
The sports tape also supports connective and soft tissues in the body. By compressing these tissues, sports taping provides strength and structure to the wrapped body parts. The support can increase performance and lower the risk of injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you not use sports tape?
The sports tape is not suitable for use in various circumstances. Do not use sports tape to wrap open wounds or surgical incisions. Avoid sports taping if you have a history of allergic reactions to acrylic since sports tape uses acrylic-based adhesives to stick to the body. People with active cancer, deep vein thrombosis, and uncontrolled diabetes should also not use sports tape.
Does taping help healing?
Yes. Taping helps healing. It encourages blood flow to the affected area, thus increasing oxygen supply and reducing swelling and inflammation.
Does sports tape really work?
Sports tape works, and it is very effective. It offers support and stability, prevents injury, and enhances healing. Taping also improves performance and boosts confidence.
How long do you leave tape on an injury?
Sports tape comprises high-quality materials and can stay on an injury for three to seven days. It is water-resistant, meaning you can shower or bath with it wrapped around the injury.
Is it OK to sleep with sports tape?
Yes, you can wear the tape to bed. Sleeping with sports tape on your wound can help relieve pain, allowing you to have a good night’s sleep.
What are the side effects of KT tape?
KT has a handful of side effects. It can cause skin irritation, pain, and swelling. Tape can feel tight on the skin if worn for long periods. In addition, it can be difficult to remove from the skin after many hours of use – it can tear or blister the skin if you remove it incorrectly. That is why having a professional apply and remove KT tape on the injury is highly recommended.
What are the disadvantages of taping?
KT tape can cause severe allergic reactions in people whose skin reacts to acrylic and other adhesive components. Tape can trap moisture on an open wound, leading to bacteria growth and infection. Taping can worsen an active cancer tumor by increasing blood flow to the affected cells. Tape can also worsen pin-and-needles sensations when used by individuals with diabetes.
What injuries need taping?
Not all injuries need taping. It is ideal for muscle, tendon, or joint injuries, including a runner’s knee, ankle sprain, and mid and low back postural pain.
What are the pros and cons of taping?
Taping is beneficial in providing support and stability, preventing injury, providing postural support, and relieving pain. Other perks associated with sports taping include swelling and edema reduction, improved proprioception, enhanced confidence, and psychological support. Nonetheless, taping has its fair share of cons. Repeated taping can be costly. Taping can cause skin irritation, requires someone else to apply it, and can restrict movement.
When should KT tape not be used?
There are various instances when KT should not be used. Taping should not be used to cover open wounds. It is also not great for covering peripheral neuropathy among people with diabetes. Tape should not be used to wrap deep vein thrombosis clots, as it can worsen the condition.
Who should not use kinesio tape?
Aside from pregnant women and individuals allergic to acrylic, people with diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, and congestive heart failure should not use kinesio tape. Patients undergoing dialysis should also avoid taping.
Can you put athletic tape on an open wound?
No, you cannot put athletic tape on an open wound. If you do so, the tape will trap moisture, which can lead to the growth of bacteria and cause infection.
When should you tape an injury?
After recovery from injury, you can tape the affected areas when you get active again to provide support and prevent re-injury. You can also tape a swelling injury to help reduce the inflammation.
What is the difference between sports tape and KT tape?
Compared to KT tape, sports tape is stronger and does not allow a greater range of motion. It is suitable for taping active injuries. KT tape is more elastic and promotes more flexibility.
How long does sports tape last?
Sports tape can last for three to seven days. It is breathable and water-resistant, making it very comfortable when appropriately applied.
Should athletic tape be tight?
Athletic tape should not be tight. A tight taping can cut off blood supply to the affected area and even cause numbness.
How do you remove sports tape?
You can remove the sports tape by rubbing baby oil on it. Let the oil sit on the tape for about 20 minutes, then peel it off gently. If you do not have baby oil, lather the tape with soap and water, then pull it off the skin.
What happens if you leave tape on for too long?
If you leave the tape on for too long, it can cause skin irritation. You should remove the tape after three to seven days of continuous use.
How does kinesiology tape work?
When wrapped around the injury, kinesiology tape supports and encourages blood circulation in the affected area. The taping, thus, results in reduced swelling, pain reduction, and fast healing.