By Adelaide Women's Physio | June 26, 2017

Taping is often chosen by our physiotherapists in the rehabilitation of many soft tissue injuries and movement dysfunctions.

General benefits of taping are:

  • Provide support to soft tissues/joints/muscles
  • Control joint instability
  • Unload painful structures (muscle, tendon, ligament)
  • Ease overworked muscles
  • Assist pain management
  • Develop posture awareness and body awareness
  • Promote functional recovery
  • Stimulate proprioceptive feedback
  • Improve movement and performance in sport and daily activity

There are different types of tape which can be divided into two categories.  These are rigid tape or kinesiology tape.

What are the Benefits of Rigid Taping?

The type of tape required for rigid taping is a non-elastic tape.  The rigid taping technique is used to restrict movement by providing very firm support.  In the acute stage of healing, support of ligament sprains, muscle strains, joint instability and inflammation is beneficial with this form of taping. The firm taping allows for very controlled movement of the joint, soft tissue, trunk, pelvis or limb.  When muscles are overworked, in pain and very tight, rigid taping can assist the muscles to rest and become less painful.

One example of joint instability and painful muscles in pregnancy that is commonly seen at Physiotherapy for Women is pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain.  A specific rigid taping approach of the pelvis and sacroiliac joints can enable pregnant women to improve their walking by decreasing limping and pain.

Acute low back pain presenting with inflammation and trigger point tight spinal muscles will often benefit from rigid taping for 2-3 days.

A pre-taping underwrap can be beneficial when skin is hypersensitive to the adhesive on the rigid tape.

What are the Benefits of Kinesiology Taping?

In kinesiology taping a thin, elasticised tape is used for many musculoskeletal injuries and physical dysfunctions that frequently present to a women’s health physiotherapy practice.

The elastic properties of the tape on the skin promotes a bunching up action on the soft tissues immediately beneath the skin.  This microscopic tissue lifting action can stimulate both lymphatic flow and blood flow, thereby reducing swelling, bruising and pain.

Kinesiology taping still provides support of injured tissues, but a certain amount of joint or muscle movement is allowed for.  The amount of tension and direction of pull on the tissues is determined by the Physiotherapist.

A common presentation that benefits from kinesiology taping is correction of poor shoulder and shoulder blade posture, often seen with shoulder rotator cuff injury. The taping stimulates awareness by improving shoulder and shoulder blade movement in functional or sporting activities.

Knee pain when walking can often be helped with a directional tape that enhances patellar/knee cap tracking and supports knee structures.

Kinesiology tape can become wet in a shower or when swimming. This tape can be left on for 3 to 5 days.

How is the type of tape and taping approach chosen?

Our Physiotherapists complete taping courses for both Rigid Taping and Kinesiology Taping.

The Physiotherapist will choose the appropriate tape and taping technique based on their assessment of your presenting condition and the treatment goals and plan that are determined to be important for your rehabilitation.

If there is uncertainty as to whether your skin may be sensitive to a specific tape, small trial tape patches can be done. Your reaction to any of the tapes can then be determined over a 24-48 hour period.

We are often teaching our clients how to do a specific taping themselves, or when necessary a family member is instructed on how to do the taping on you.