Ask any sports trainer what’s in their kit, and they invariably possess a selection of joint support options for both acute injuries and common chronic conditions. Trainers spend years learning how to best treat each type of injury; what works well for a strain, sprain or tear; and the science behind each product.
Sports tape can be used for a variety of injuries – everything from “buddy taping” an injured toe or finger to its neighbor to provide support and protection, to taping an injured player’s ankle during a championship to get them back in the game. Many sports tapes are meant to be applied directly to the skin and can be used with or without a sports underwrap designed to prevent irritation. Athletic tape uses are endless! In addition to providing joint support, countless rolls have been used to simply hold sports equipment in place, allowing soccer players, for example, to focus on the goal rather than ill-fitting shin guards.
Muscle tape or kinesiology tape is engineered to do more than just hold things in place. These specialized athletic tapes are designed to provide relief by lifting the skin away from the injured area, thus decreasing pressure, swelling, and inflammation. Kinesiology tape isn’t new – it was developed by Japanese chiropractor, Kenzo Kase, in the ‘70s – but it caused a stir on basketball and tennis courts everywhere when professional athletes, collegiate teams and finally high school teams started showing up to play, sporting the brightly colored tape. There is ongoing discussion about the effectiveness of kinesiology tape, but some athletes claim to get relief from these products.
Fast forward to the next generation of joint care. Highly engineered kinesiology supports are designed to combine joint support via targeted pressure with ease of use. Casual competitors, weekend warriors, and anyone needing support for a sore shoulder, elbow, or knee can use these products during play, at work, or at home. Their thin, discreet design makes it easy to wear the supports under athletic gear or dress clothes alike, and the supports are effective for up to three days.
Sports tape has a place in every training room, sports medicine bag, and home first aid kit. Its uses are endless – from complicated tape configurations for sprained ankles, to extra adhesion to keep wound dressings in place.
Kinesiology tape requires the skill of a sports trainer to ensure proper application. Using kinesiology tape incorrectly can render the product ineffective, irritate the skin, and provide false confidence to the injured athlete.
Kinesiology supports are easy to use and provide effective support via targeted pressure on the affected area. Pre-cut pieces conform easily to injured joints, allow natural movement during activities, can be worn for several days, and can be removed easily when it’s time to change the support or support is no longer needed.
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The most common forms of sports injuries are sprains and strains of muscles and tendons. A basic treatment for these types of injuries is called R.I.C.E. Therapy.