The usage of athletic tape has been quite abundant and widespread over many years. Many of you might be confused and ask, “What exactly is athletic tape”? Well, I’m here with all the answers! Athletic taping is the method that uses athletic tape (a medical tool) to physically maintain and physically hold your bones, ligaments, joints, and muscles in a stable position that prevents pain and aids in a faster recovery.
There is a wide variety of athletic tapes that physical therapists, athletic trainers, and other sports medicine practitioners use on athletes or any injured persons. The tape can either be applied directly onto the skin or over a pre-wrap. Pre-wrap is a device that is applied before the actual tape. Whether you use it is a matter of preference. It protects your skin from chafing, inflammation, possible bacteria from growing and can better hold your tape in place.
One important thing to point out is that there are different application processes based on your injured used to stabilize specific bones and muscles in your body. The application process is vital for ensuring the effectiveness of the tape.
What Are the Categories of Athletic Tape?
Generally speaking, there are three categories of athletic tape and different types of tape that go into each category. Each category has the same goal but serves various functions. These categories are:
The corrective tape is used to correct muscle and joint patterns, decrease pain, change your muscle tone, correct posture, and support your muscles. One of the most common types of corrective tapes that are used is called Kinesio tape and leukotape.
Kinesiotape is made out of adhesive, cotton, and spandex. The primary purpose of this tape is to decompress the areas of where you’re injured. This will then remind pain receptors to send signals to the brain, which will relieve and decrease the trigger points of where your body is hurt. Kinesiotape is very elastic, allowing the applier to control and regulate how much tape is applied to the patient’s skin. They can either come it rolls or in pre-cuts. If applied correctly by a professional, it can fix your muscle functionality, reduce inflammation, increase mobility, increase blood flow, reduce pain, and enhance your recovery. The tape can be applied in multiple strips or as a whole, depending on where you’re injured. Another thing stop point put is that the amount of tension the applier applies on the skin profoundly affects the way the tape functions and helps your muscles. More stress and pressure means more stabilization needed for the area harmed. The most prevalent Kinesio tape used by health care practitioners is the KT Tape.
Leukotape can be used for shoulder and foot pain; however, it is explicitly designed for knee injuries. Unlike Kinesio tape, Leukotape doesn’t exhibit elastic or stretchy properties; this makes it perfect for stabilizing your joints. If applied appropriately, it will limit movements of the bones, ligaments, and tendons, which will avert stress in the knees. This specific tape has an extremely zinc oxide adhesive, which is why it’s vital to wear an under wrap called coverall. Coverall is made out of stretchy polyester material and protects your skin from the strong zinc oxide adhesive.
Compression tape is very lightweight and is usually worn over other tapes. It’is used in compression therapy hence the name compression tape. This tape isn’t very strong and offers minimal support for the joints. It’s very durable and elastic, which is excellent for covering the under tapes. It stays on for long periods and in harsh environments. It’s also made out of spandex and cotton. There are a few different versions or types of compression tape: waterproof, lightplast and corban.
The waterproof compression tapes are very impressive as they still attach to the skin when it gets wet or if the person profusely sweats. They’re also washable and are perfect for people who have sensitive skin.
Coban tape is used to compress or hold your muscles in place. It’s not a pre-wrap, but tape can go over it. It’s more used as a type of bandage wrap. It’s latex-free and self-adhesive, yet it doesn’t stick to your skin or clothes. Its cohesive material is made out of elastic fibers and offers controlled compression to the joints. Coban tape is excellent to wear with r zinc oxide tapes as it will prevent it from drying out. It can even last up to a week. However, I wouldn’t keep it on for that long for hygienic purposes. A p[plus is that most Coban tapes are also waterproof.
Lightplast is an elastic adhesive tape that slightly restricts joint mobility. It offers light compression, which is excellent to use on the hands, knees, wrists, elbows, and ankles. It’s made out of a combination of cotton and spandex and will most likely be removed that same day you applied it.
The supportive tape is one of the most common tapes utilized by athletes. They’re mainly used and worn during specific athletic activities like basketball and gymnastics. This durable, strong white tape doesn’t display any elasticity properties and is used to reduce and limit any sort of movement in the joints. It’s the primary purpose to support and stabilize all your ligaments and joints in one place. This athletic tape is mainly used on the ankles, wrists, feet, and hands. When applied, several layers are used in a prophylactic pattern to ensure that the joints are as stabilized as possible. It’s recommended to wear pre-wrap before applying Supportive or athletic tape. Other supportive tapes are elastic or Elastoplast.
Elastoplast tape is made out of a robust and durable rubber back adhesive that’s engineered to provide stability and comfort to aid in your recovery process.
Elastikon is a high twist, an elastic cotton cloth that also has a rubber back adhesive. This dynamic pressure tape is used to compress muscle strains and sprains. It’s designed to provide maximum support and stability to your ankles, knees, elbows, and foot. If used in athletic activities, it will be moved right after practice.
Supportive tapes are commonly used to treat injuries in the ankles or Achilles.
Tape It Up!!
As you can see, there is a wide variety of different athletic tapes that serve the same purposes of stabilizing your joints, muscle, and ligaments and aiding in a fast recovery. All these athletic tapes are relatively cheap and can be purchased online or at any fitness retail store. Be sure to use this as a source if you are ever in need of learning about athletic tape or buying it.