Strapping and Taping techniques are some of the most important and more visable skills a physiotherapists, sports therapist or athletic trainers working with sports men and women can have.
Strapping and Taping techniques can help improve injury as well as protect the athlete from re-injury whilst returning to sport. The roll of the tape is to limit in an injured joint to prevent excess or abnormal movement. In addition it should provide support to the muscles surrounding the joint that may be under additional strain due to the ligament injury.
Another benefit of taping is thought to be the enhanced proprioception (or kinaesthetic feedback) that the tape provides during movement (or in other words it is thought to improve co-ordination). For example; if taped ankle starts to invert (turn over) during a jump, then the tape will restrict this and inform the body that it needs to contract muscles to prevent this movement in the ankle. Without this feedback the athlete may be unaware the ankle has started to invert and land on it badly injuring it again.
Tape should only be used in conjunction with a proper rehabilitation programme including stretching, mobility and strengthening exercises.
Tape should only be used to protect unstable joints where repeated or severe ligament damage has resulted in stretching of the ligaments and joint laxity.
For example athletes who repeatedly suffer ankle sprains due to laxity of the joint may benefit from taping or wearing an ankle brace to support the joint because the ligaments have been stretched too much to do their job properly.