Some conditions we treat require using different types of strapping or bracing to assist in your recovery. Your therapist may use one or more of the following taping techniques in order to help you recover faster, reduce your pain and get you back into action sooner.
Rigid Strapping Tape
Rigid tape, or sports tape is commonly used for moderate/severe joint and ligament sprains or tears. Due to the instability these injuries can create, rigid tape is often used to help the body stabilise the injured area and can often help alleviate pain as well. The tape works by restricting excessive movement of a joint and/or ligaments.
Another common use for rigid tape, is when you are getting back to activity following an injury. An example of this is returning to soccer following an ankle sprain. Your therapist may recommend taping your ankle for your next soccer training or match in order to provide some extra support during the recovery/rehabilitation phase of your treatment.
Taping used in these type of injuries is not designed to be worn for long periods of time, and your practitioner will inform you of the correct protocols in using this type of tape.
Kinesio tape, is an elastic/stretchy tape that decompresses the skin directly beneath where it is applied. You may have seen it being used by many professional athletes. It has a unique appearance and comes in many colours and patterns.
Benefits of using this tape may include;
- Fluid dynamics – improving blood flow and lymphatic drainage
- This can assist in reducing pain and inflammation by allowing the body to flush out inflammation and damaged cells from the area.
- By helping blood flow kinesio tape can help remove lactic acid from overused muscles and reduce cramping.
- The movement between different layers of muscle and fascia
- Due to the lifting action of the tape, it may reduce the activity of pain receptors under the skin.
- Body awareness or proprioception by increasing neural stimulation
- The stimulation of proprioceptors enable the body to be more acutely aware of its position in space, and this can help in increasing your athletic performance and reducing muscle fatigue for repetitive movements.
Kinesio tape provides dynamic support (think of it like a second skin) which enables the body to moves freely, unlike rigid tape which restricts movement. It can be used in the management of the following conditions;
- muscle pain
- muscle cramping
- tendon injuries
- inflammation and bruising
Braces are external supportive devices that help to stabilise or assist in controlling joint/muscle activity. Braces come in many types and sizes, and your practitioner will be able to advise you if a brace can assist in your injury and recovery. Generally, braces work by creating more support (similar to sports tape) and helping to guide the body through certain positions. One of the advantages to using a brace is being able remove and reuse it whenever you like.