Today, the popularity of athletic tape, referred to as kinesio taping, has boomed immensely. Now there are probably close to 100 brands of sports tape on the market. You can find glimpses of athletic tape on athletes at various competitive events. Athletic tapes are starting to feel like a badge of honour for athletes. They simply cannot do without it.
What is an athletic tape, and why is it so important to competitive sport in general?.
What Are Sports Tapes?
Athletic tapes come from the original product called a Kinesio tape or Kinesio Tex Tape. It was invented in the late 1970s by a Dr Kenzo Kase who wanted to give athletes more support without limiting their movements. Although credited to him, kinesiology tape was generally accepted as an athletic tape when high-profile athletes like Kerri Walsh, a volleyball player launched it at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
For the first time, the world took notice of athletic tapes; and sales of these products have continually increased ever since.
How Does A Sports Tape Work?
You should know that a kinesiology tape is made from a combination of nylon and cotton. It is very, very stretchy; and this is what makes it so great for athletes. These tapes are designed to mimic an athlete’s skin elasticity, helping them utilise their full range of motion. Because it is water-resistant, an athletic tape stays on for 3-5 days, even during a workout session or a swimming class.
Although experts disagree about how these tapes work, it is quite apparent that it beneficial. An athletic tape does the following:
- Creates microscopic space in certain joints within the body.
- Reduces trigger point pain and increases flexibility.
- May sometimes improve circulation of blood and other bodily fluids.
Do Athletic Tapes Take Different Forms?
Yes, indeed. There are many other types of sports tape besides kinesiology tape. Depending on the functions a tape performs, it may take different forms, such as:
- Rigid tape for reducing joint movement. This can take the form of either a standard cotton tape coated with a zinc oxide adhesive or a stiffer and more rigid rayon backed tape. with an even more powerful adhesive;
- Elastic tape for adding flexibility to skin, muscles and soft tissues. This can come in both “light” and “heavy” forms.;
- Cohesive tape that sticks to itself and not to the skin or anything else – used for treating strains, sprains and other overuse injuries;
- Felt tape for skin protection; does not contain glue;
- Kinesiology tapes; ultimate athletic tapes used in sports for increasing flexibility and range of motion and for treating repetitive stress injuries;
With most types of athletic tape, the quality of the adhesive is key to performance. Especially for tapes that rely on stabilizing joints, the adhesive has to be capable of holding its position over extended periods. Moreover, many of these tapes are worn by athletes on the field. So the adhesive has to also be capable of “holding up” under these even more trying conditions.
Kinesiology tapes do not stabilize the joints or restrict their motion – in fact, they are designed to do the opposite. But even for these sports tapes, the quality of adhesive is important. To do its job properly, this tape has to remain on the skin (in the original position) for periods of up to 5 days, which requires a special quality of adhesive.
For all types of adhesive tape (whether kinesiology or rigid tapes) the adhesive should be gentle on the skin and ideally be hypoallergenic.
What Is A Sports Tape Used For?
So far, physical therapists have been able to establish glaring positive benefits of using tape during treatment. They are outlined as follows:
- Treats injuries such as pain and inflammation in joints.
- Supports weak zones in the muscles and joints, helping injured athletes move fatigued muscles without feeling too much pain.
- Retrains muscles that have been bent awkwardly due to improper posture or use.
- Enhances athletic performance during major competitive events.
- Improves the long-term appearances of scars after a surgery.