Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taping: Skill or Art?

"Taping is an ART."
"You will learn the skill of taping."
I have been greeted with both of those when learning various taping techniques at workshops/courses etc.  I think the truth lies somewhere in between.  Either way, we must be adept at it in order to perform our job.  Truth is, when an athlete is injured, how many times has a coach or athlete said, "Can't you just tape it up?"  It is perhaps as synonymous with athletic training as any other task we perform, and rightfully so.  We should be good at it, if not the best.
I've even heard colleagues state "Taping is dead.  Braces are the way to go."  I'm not so convinced.  Many athletes still prefer taping to bracing, and since we are a service based profession, I believe taping is here to stay.  What it will continue to do, much like everything else, is change and evolve (hello Kinesio taping!)
That said, here is a basic closed basket weave for an ankle, perhaps the most common taping technique regularly applied.  A classic, very diverse and useful:

Here is a variation; just a couple of tweaks, but the basic premise remains the same.

Some basic points on ankle taping:
1.  Avoid continuous tape; this often provides pressure and not necessarily support.  Shorter strips tend to hold up well.
2.  As a colleague down the hall says every day "Taping is your signature.  Make it look good."
3.  Be wary of the 5th metatarsal; don't tape to tightly over it, but don't stay behind it either.  It's a spot that is easily aggravated.
4.  Every ATC has their own "style" of taping; as long as the ankle mortise is receiving adequate support, then variations are OK.  Basically, if the tape is performing it's intended function, then it shouldn't matter at what specific point you apply your heel lock, figure eight, etc. It's OK to be different, but be efficient!

So who out there exclusively tapes?  Exclusively braces?  Tell us why, I'd sure be interested in hearing your thoughts.  

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