Taping for Injury Prevention in Sports
Evidence has shown that this technique does not negatively affect the athlete's performance, with or without a history of an injury.
Many athletes/sportspeople, whether they play high level or not, have had some experience with sports taping - also called strapping. Taping is completed by a qualified sports trainer/health professional. It is usually provided to prevent injury, reduce pain or facilitate/inhibit areas of the body.
“...it is advisable for the average athlete/sportsperson to be taped up for games, especially when returning back after an injury or with a history of injury.”
There have been discussions about taping and whether regular taping has negative consequences. It has been suggested that frequent taping will reduce the athlete's performance or weaken the area of taping. Still, evidence has shown that this technique does not negatively affect the athlete's performance, with or without a history of an injury.
There are many benefits to using taping in sports, such as:
Injury prevention: Studies show that taping will significantly reduce ankle sprains with rigid tape, especially for those with a history of ankle sprains. This also applies to braces.
Pain reduction: Reduction of stress on structures around the injured area.
Reduce swelling in acute injuries.
Proprioceptive feedback: Taping can improve proprioception by enhancing muscular control and can provide ankle position awareness.
Psychological: Taping increases confidence and decreases anxiety about sustaining an injury in athletes - with or without previous injury- and provides a feeling of stability and reassurance.
Taping is usually provided for the athlete during games for injury prevention or following an injury for protection. It is arguable due to the training and rehabilitation being completed outside of the games and with the taping only being on for a few hours, it is not enough to weaken any joints or ligaments. It is now recommended to tape or brace all ankles for specific sports, such as basketball and netball, with a history of ankle sprains.
In summary, it is advisable for the average athlete/sportsperson to be taped up for games, especially when returning back after an injury or with a history of injury. There are circumstances where taping would not be advisable such as skin allergies and conditions, open wounds or sensory loss around the area.
If you have any concerns about taping or bracing as an alternative, you should chat with your team trainer/physiotherapist.