© 2008 Alison Leach

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Strapping and Taping techniques can help prevent injury as well as protect the athlete from re-injury whilst returning to sport. The role of the tape is to limit the movement in a injured joint to prevent excess or abnormal movement. In addition, it should provide support to the muscles surrounding the joint that may be under additional strain due to the ligament injury.

 

Another benefit of taping is thought to be enhanced proprioception (or kinaesthetic feedback) that the tape provides during movement (or in other words it is thought to improve co-ordination). For example if a taped ankle starts to invert (turn over) during a jump then the tape will restrict this and inform the body that it needs to contract muscles to prevent this movement in the ankle. Without this feedback the athlete may be unaware the ankle has started to invert and land on it badly injuring it again.

 

Tape should only be used in conjunction with a proper rehabilitation programme including stretching, mobility and strengthening exercises.

 

Tape can also be used to protect unstable joints where repeated or severe ligament damage has resulted in stretching of the ligaments and joint laxity. For example, athletes who repeatedly suffer ankle sprains due to laxity of the joint may benefit from taping or wearing an ankle brace to support the joint because the ligaments have been stretched too much to do their job properly.

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