Many of you are I hope tuned in to watch the Australian Tennis Open over the next 2 weeks. You will see many of the players wearing different types of tape, some of it helping them get through matches, maybe preventing injuries from getting worse, and often to prevent an injury from occurring.
The black, pink, blue or tan tape (its actually all the same stuff; certain players prefer certain colours!) is called kinesio tape. It is stretchy so it means that in sports or activities where you are required to bend through big ranges of movement, the tape isn’t so tight that you cant do the movements you need, but it is supportive enough that it helps to protect the area. In elite sport, athletes are so sensitive that often it just takes a slight reminder (in this case, the tape) to totally change how they move, often giving them the confidence they need to play their match without worrying about their injury.
Dynamic tape is another stretchy tape that helps to facilitate the muscle – as the muscle stretches the tape pulls reminding the muscle it has gone too far and needs to stop there and contract again.
Rigid tape is exactly that – it doesn’t budge. This is great for ankles – we know that if you sprain your ankle once you are very likely to do it again. So if a player has had a sprain they will often continue to tape their ankle for every training session or match. Injuries cost money, are horrible to go through and take a lot of work to not only recover from but regain full fitness – all in all the cost of tape and having to do this every time is of little concern! What you don’t see is the tape a lot of players will have to use on their abdominals. One of the worst injuries a player can have is an abdominal strain – it makes serving near impossible. But some serious rigid taping can make the world of distance allowing players to continue competing. Enjoy the next few weeks of tennis.