What is athletic taping?
According to Wikipedia, athletic taping involves placing tape directly over your skin to regulate a stable position of bones and muscles during athletic workouts. It is a process that makes use tape adherent to the skin to physically fix your muscles or bones in place.
Taping any physical injuries or body parts can minimize discomfort and stabilize your joints. That said, taping effectively can be hard for most beginners without any knowledge of basic taping. That’s where this guide comes in.
How it works
The science of taping still isn’t accurate enough, so there is no exact idea of how the process works. People initially used stiff tapes to regulate movement, but research suggests that rigid tape can only hold out for the beginning phase of workouts and gradually wears out over time.
Many scientific groups and communities claim that taping helps you regulate your body’s proprioception which is the sensation and awareness of space within the body. This is crucial for any athlete or sportsman since proprioception allows you to know where your arm is when throwing, or where your leg is while kicking.
The main premise is that taping helps you isolate the parts of your body that are affected by an injury. Furthermore, it helps to minimize pain, and while many consider this benefit to be a placebo, it’s been a great supportive treatment for athletes over the years by providing support, relief, and gradual recovery with each physical injury.
Not all athletic tapes are created equal. Athletic tapes can be broken down into different types, including:
The rigid tape is a very stiff tape that is able to hold or limit joint movement. The material only gives slightly, and usually has a zinc-oxide-based glue that can strongly attach to the skin surface.
Under tape is present directly under the rigid tape and its material is softer and less harsh on the skin.
Elastic tape can be easily and extensively twisted since it provides added flexibility when you use it on your skin, muscles, and soft tissues. Elastic tape is typically made of cotton so that your skin can breathe and receive moisture through the absorbent material.
Felt tape acts as a limiting barrier for the skin. It doesn't make use of glue which essentially makes it comfier than other tape types.
Cohesive bandages are similar to felt tapes in that they don't make use any glue in their weave so that instead they adhere to each other when they're used around a joint or muscle.
Kinesio-type (KT) tape is the common tape used in sports that can adapt to the skin so that it simultaneously adjusts with each body movement.
According to BodyBulding.com, these are some of the important rules to know about athletic taping:
- Don’t place tape on the areas where the skin is excessively sensitive.
- Avoid skin that shows active eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis.
- Avoid taping any fresh scars or wounds.
- Do get a consultation from the appropriate professionals to see if athletic taping suits you
- Don’t tape sunburns.
- Avoid moisturizers before taping.
- Don’t shave your body before taping since hairs are needed for brain feedback during workouts.
- Avoid putting tape on wrinkled areas like your hands or feet.
- Take off the tape if you feel any numbness or tingling.
- Cut the tape off after use.
- Do not peel the tape off.
According to KT Tape, there are times when athletic tape should be avoided because of health concerns. Some of the medical conditions in which to avoid athletic taping include:
DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis – Blood clots or DVT or can be dangerous if the clot is dislodged and then passes to the brain, heart, or lungs. In such cases, taping can cause more extensive damage and should be avoided.
Renal Insufficiency – If your kidneys adequately manage or handle the fluid in your body, it can be detrimental to circulate more fluid back to them. Taping any part of the body in severe cases of renal insufficiency can increase the risk of renal failure.
Congestive Heart Failure – CHF also involves improper fluid circulation to and from the heart so taping can cause the same type and amount of damage as with renal insufficiency.
Infection – Taping should absolutely be avoided in case of superficial or deep body infections since the fluid movement can cause the infection to spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer – If you’re a cancer patient with cancerous tissue spread throughout the body, taping can cause cells to spread to other areas of the body. Taping should be avoided in case of any malignancy.
A tape is not a cure-all
Although the risks for athletic taping are pretty minimal in normal cases, you should know that taping isn’t a universal fix for physical injuries. Taping can just be a part of your daily workout routine, so all you have to do is pick the appropriate tape for your workout type and let the process do the rest.
The duration of time you keep your tape on differs with each tape, so you should make sure to research the different products and their features to see which ones are best suited for you. Some tapes like KT tapes can be left on for three days straight! Just make sure to avoid taping in any of the medical conditions mentioned above.
Get a proper treatment plan with Pillars of Wellness
Pillars of Wellness is a multifunctional clinic that offers a wide variety of services including chiropractic, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, physical therapy, yoga, meditation, acupuncture and much more.
Whether you’re looking to improve in daily exercises or looking for pain and symptom relief both mentally and physically, contact the team immediately to get a proper treatment plan for your health. As Jim Rohn said, your body is the only place where you live, so take care of it!