Athlete being taped on calf

Athletic Tape Application: Further Tips

In a previous post, we provided suggestions for the proper preparatory steps for an athletic taping job. In this post, we will suggest tips to follow during athletic tape application in order to improve the chances of completing the job successfully. These suggestions cover the use of both elastic and non elastic athletic tapes.

  • To reduce possible migration (movement) of the tape after application, we suggest the use of an adherent tape spray. A good example of such a spray would be Mueller Sports Medicine’s Tuffner Pre Tape Spray.
  • When taping over bony prominences, we suggest the use of thin foam pads to reduce possible skin irritation. This is particularly important when dealing with an athlete or patient who requires frequent taping. In these case, failure to use a skin lubricant or foam pads can lead to skin cuts or blisters.

Protecting Existing Wounds During Athletic Tape Application

Use foam (e.g. pre wrap), felt, lubricants or a hydrogel wound dressing to protect a blister or skin laceration. These materials should be applied over the wound dressing before athletic tape application. A felt or foam donut pad will reduce the amount of stress on the wound caused by the tape as well as the effect of impacts on the wound. The therapist can further reduce friction by applying a skin lubricant or hydrogel wound dressing under the donut pad. An adhesive gauze material can be used to attach the pad and/or dressing to the skin.

Athletic Tape Application: Recommended Steps

The suggested steps to follow during athletic tape application are:

  • Ensure that all needed supplies (including adherent tape spray, pre-wrap, taping scissors and wound dressings) are gathered and ready for use.
  • Begin and end the application using anchor strips.
  • Avoid gaps by overlapping each strip of tape by at least 50% of its width.
  • Smooth each strip of tape with the fingers or hands during application.
  • Avoid gaps, wrinkles and inconsistent roll tension during athletic tape application, as these may contribute to skin irritations, cuts and blisters.
  • Avoid multiple wraps or turns around a muscle or joint.
  • For athletic tape applications to the feet, toes, hand and fingers, we suggest the use of tapes with dimensions of 0.5 or 1 inches wide by 5 or 15 yards long.
  • For applications to the lower leg, ankle, thigh, knee, upper arm, hip/pelvis, forearm, elbow, hand, wrist or fingers, we suggest tape measuring 1.5, 2 or 3 inches wide by 5 or 15 yards long.
  • If taping other areas, we suggest tape measuring 3 or 4 inches wide by 5 or 15 yards long.

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