Taping and Bandaging

Critical question 3: What role do preventative actions play in enhancing the wellbeing of the athlete?
Taping and Bandaging

Taping and bandaging can be used to prevent injury from occurring or to aid in recovery or rehabilitation after injury.

Preventative Taping

Preventative taping is most commonly applied to joint areas to strengthen, support or prevent the joint from exceeding its normal range of motion during movement. It is also beneficial for an athlete who may have had a previous injury or weakness. Any sport that requires explosive movements or change in direction, like basketball, tennis or soccer, places stress on joints, meaning that players can benefit from this form of taping. The main areas that athletes apply preventative taping to are the ankle, knee, shoulders and fingers (particularly thumbs).

It is important that athletes not rely on taping in the long term as they may become psychologically dependent on it, rather than simply using it to strengthen a weakened site or for rehabilitation. Taping can also be used on muscles, provideing compression and or support.

Taping for Isolation of Injury

Early in rehabilitation, taping is used to provide support and prevent any further damage by immobilising or isolating the site of injury. Immobilisation can help athletes get through training and allow work on their conditioning while they are in rehab mode.

This type of taping can also be useful for an athlete returning from injury back to training by preventing them from moving their body incorrectly. Isolation or immobilisation can increase an athlete’s sense of proprioceptive awareness, which is their ability to correct and avoid potentially dangerous positions. An ability which may have been lost during the recovery process.

Bandaging for the Immediate Treatment of Injury

Bandaging immediately after first aid has been applied to an injury or to secure an injury for ongoing treatment. The RICER principles support the use of a compression bandage to reduce swelling and blood flow to the injured area. Bandaging can also be used to immobilise an injured site.