Supportive or “athletic” taping is the process of applying tape to a joint or muscle in order to provide pressure or restrict a joint’s range of motion, thereby preventing the overstressing of supportive tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and joint capsules.
Taping is mainly used to support a joint or muscle with an existing injury in order to reduce the risk of re-injury, but may also be used as a proactive approach to prevent injury by increasing joint stability.
Taping can serve many purposes, including:
- Improved joint stability;
- Prevention of injury;
- Reduced risk of re-injury;
- Aids in recovery of an injury by shortening the fibres of damaged tissue during healing;
- Relieves pain by restricting the range of motion of an injured joint, which prevents overstretching of damaged supportive tissue;
- Increases an athlete’s confidence during activity.
Supportive taping is most commonly used in the prevention or support of injuries to joint ligaments such as sprains of the ankle, wrist and knee, but may also be used to reduce the pain of plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis and shin splints.
Supportive taping may be worn throughout the duration of an injury, however many athletes may choose to continue taping even after an injury has healed in order to prevent or reduce the risk of re-injury.