At Aim 4 Health our chiropractors use a variety of tapes for different conditions, clinical presentations and desired effect as part of their treatment. Below we explain the various tapes we use and describe their use in our office.
Rigid strapping tape
Rigid tape or Sports tape is one of the more common tapes that are used by therapists on patients and athletes. The primary purpose of this tape is to stabilise joints and the supporting ligaments and muscle tendons. It is a stronger tape designed to stabilise and restrict movement during vigorous physical activity and is effective for both preventative and rehabilitation taping techniques/ Practitioners commonly use this tape for moderate – severe joint injury and ligament sprains or tears. Due to the instability these injuries can create, the tape is used to stabilise the injured area reducing injury, promote healing, provide pain relief and joint confidence. Common areas of use include the ankles, shoulders, knees, elbows, wrists and fingers.
The rigid fabric in the tape has no elasticity or stretch unlike other tapes and is hand tear able. It comes in various sizes with 38mm width the most common tape we use in our practice. The adhesive in the tape is quite strong and can react with people who have allergies to fabric bandages and the glue. If you have had a previous reaction to this type of tape please let us know, otherwise we can apply underdressing to prevent this from happening. Rigid tape It is also not designed to be worn for long periods of time and works best when dry. If applying yourself please be careful to not put on tight as you may restrict blood flow and cause more damage or serious injury.
Kinesiology Tape (KT Tape) and Rocktape
This is our crazy colour tape coming in a variety of different styles, bright colours and patterns that you may have seen worn on people exercising, at the gym or on sports on tv. This tape is the opposite of rigid tape, and acts as a second skin to facilitate movement and enhance muscle activity. This tape was designed to allow full motion of body parts, increase joint proprioception, provide dynamic support and relieve pain.
The tape is applied to the skin under a variety of different levels of stretch which causes tissue bunching. While bunching different layers of skin, fascial tissue and muscle are lifted up to encourage lymphatic drainage and blood flow in the area. This helps flush out lactic acid, damaged cells and inflammation from the area while also reducing the activity of pain receptors under the skin for further pain relief and to facilitate recovery.
Conditions which benefit from its use include swelling, bruising, reduced muscle fatigue pain relief and muscle support. One of the main reasons we use KT tape and Rocktape is to increase body position awareness called proprioception for rehabilitation and exercise correction. The tape allows us to retrain and improve joint feedback to the brain to increase positional awareness and for correction of movement patterns. When applied the tape provides a stimulation to the tissue which alerts the brain to the area to increase muscle and joint activation e.g good posture. Another benefit is that the adhesive is suitable for sensitive skin types, it can be worn 3-5 days post application and can also get wet.
Elastic Adhesive Bandage
For extra support to rigid tape and to provide better compression to soft tissue injuries we recommend the use of elastic adhesive bandages for overwrapping. Differing from rigid tape, these bandages are very stretchy allowing increased movement of the area while providing supportive comfort. We use this bandage over the top of our rigid tape for reinforcement of the intended support we are creating. It also helps with improving h durability of the rigid tape underneath for longer effective use.
For those with sensitive skin we highly recommend the use of under wraps prior to taping an area with rigid strapping tape or elastic adhesive bandages. Apart from preventing direct contact with the skin, they assist in reducing friction and allowing the tapes to stick better. They are lightweight, made from cotton or foam allowing the skin to breathe and have hypoallergenic adhesive to reduce the risk of skin irritation.
Another option we have is the use of non-adhesive foam to protect your skin from the adhesives on tapes. This foam is great and like tape comes in a long ribbon like roll which can be wrapped around the joints and limbs to protect the skin seamlessly. The only downside from using the foam is that you do loose some of the stabilising supports you would get from using direct adhesive contact with the skin.
Braces and Supports
At times we may recommend the use of braces rather than tapes for your injury, pain management and recovery. Braces unlike tapes can be applied by yourself and removed for reuse at a later date. There are a variety of different braces and supports that can be used for different joints and areas of the body. They can either be purchased from our clinic or hired from our office, local chemist or a sports medical practice or physiotherapist we recommend.