Taping is commonly used as an adjunct or temporary technique. Athletes often make use of taping as a protective mechanism in the presence of an existing injury. Some of the goals with taping are to restrict movement of injured joints, soft tissue compression to reduce swelling. support anatomical structures, and as protection from re-injury. Taping is used as one of the means of rehabilitation or prophylaxis in instances where support and stability is needed, as an first aid tool, for the prevention of injury and protection of an injured anatomical structure while healing is taking place.
Intended Purpose and Effect of Taping Techniques
Tape is commonly used by physiotherapists to:
- relieve your pain
- improve joint stability
- enhance athlete confidence
- reduce injury recurrence
- prevent injury
- reduce strain on injured or vulnerable tissues
- correct faulty biomechanics
- inhibit muscle action
- facilitate muscle action
- enhance proprioception
- compress in the presence of oedema or lymphatic drainage
Some of these purposes may be achieved through a combination of these possible effects of taping:
- mechanical effects
- neuromuscular effects
- psychological effects
There are different kinds of tape that can be employed:
- Rigid strapping tape commonly used in taping or strapping is often referred to as "sports tape" or "athletic tape" and is most often a rigid style of strapping tape.
- Elastic strapping tape can also be used when less rigidity or support is required.
- Kinesiology tape is an improved version of elastic sports tape that acts to dynamically assist your muscle function.
Aims of Taping
Tape may be used to:
- stabilise or support an injury
- relieve pain by de-loading vulnerable or painful structures
- facilitate normal movement, muscle action or postural patterns.
Types of Taping
Kinesiology taping (KT) is a therapeutic tool and has become increasingly popular within the sporting arena. Taping has been used for a long time for the prevention and treatment of sporting injuries. KT is not only used for sporting injuries but for a variety of other conditions. It was developed by Japanaese Chiropractor Dr. Kenzo Kase in the 1970's with the intention to alleviate pain  and improve the healing in soft tissues. There are many proposed benefits to KT, including: proprioceptive facilitation; reduced muscle fatigue; muscle facilitation; reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness; pain inhibition; enhanced healing, such as reducing oedema, and improvement of lymphatic drainage and blood flow.
Mobilisation with Movement (MWM) developed by Brian Mulligan FNZSP (Hon) of New Zealand is recognised world wide in manual therapy approaches. His concept is the application of manually applied accessory joint glide with concomitant pain free active movement. During the development of MWMs Brian Mulligan discovered that treatment in some patients was enhanced when he utilised taping to compliment the directional forces provided after the MWM treatment bout. Taping is applied in directions that compliment the applied MWM passive force to a joint or soft tissue.
McConnell taping (also known as Patellar Taping) is often used to treat patients with anterior knee pain, more specifically with patients with Chondromalacia Patellae and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome). The tape corrects the tracking of the patella within the patellar groove by medializing the patella. The technique also stretches lateral soft tissues and strengthens the vastus medialis obliques.
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