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©William E. Prentice


When you finish this chapter you will be able to:

  • Explain the need for and demonstrate the application of elastic wraps.

  • Demonstrate site preparation for taping.

  • Know the various types of tape that can be used.

  • Understand what you are trying to accomplish by the application of a specific taping technique.

  • Demonstrate basic skills in the use of taping for a variety of body parts.

Wrapping and taping techniques are used routinely to accomplish a variety of specific objectives including:

  • Providing compression to minimize swelling in the initial management of injury.

  • Reducing the chances of injury by applying tape prophylactically (for prevention) before an injury occurs.

  • Providing additional stability to an injured structure.19

There are advantages and disadvantages to using wrapping and taping techniques. Certainly wrapping and taping skills are not difficult. They can be mastered by anyone willing to spend time practicing and learning what works best in a given situation.16 Of course, certain taping and wrapping techniques are more advanced and should be used only by those with some advanced experience.18 As a "taper" gains more experience, it becomes evident that there are many nuances to taping, and there are certainly variations to taping techniques presented in this text. Individual athletes may like slight modifications in taping techniques. Techniques that work well on one athlete may not work as well on others. Each athlete is a bit different anatomically, and adjustments may be necessary to accommodate these anatomic variations. However, there are some very basic techniques that can be easily applied with only a little training. Tape should not be applied by coaches or other fitness professionals who do not have at least some understanding of the type of injury that exists and the reasons that an athlete needs to be taped in the first place.

Anyone can master taping and wrapping with practice.

On the negative side, tape is expensive, and some schools simply don't have the budget to purchase large quantities of elastic and nonelastic tape. Applying tape is also time-consuming.1

A review of the evidence-based support for using taping indicates that good research has shown the limited effectiveness of taping.8,10,13 Moreover, the effectiveness of taping in preventing or at least minimizing the chances of injury is controversial.15 The amount of support and motion limitation that tape provides has also been questioned.3,5,8,17 Several research studies have indicated that the use of commercially manufactured braces may be equally effective if not more effective than taping for limiting movement and preventing injury.2,7,18,20

Taping and wrapping techniques should never be used as a substitute for a sound rehabilitation program designed to correct ...

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