The Pros and Cons of Injury Strapping and Taping

Home » News » The Pros and Cons of Injury Strapping and Taping

You’ve definitely seen it before. Brown or white tape strapped to a person’s arms, knees or ankles to name a few. From the sports field to the gym, these people have decided to use strapping and taping as a means of injury management throughout training and competing. Some use tape in sports for injury prevention purposes to restrict joint and muscle movement and therefore reduce the potential risk of injury. Others, after an injury has occurred, use sports tape to support tendons and ligaments and to enable functional movement of the skeletal structure during exercise.

Athletes continue to rely on various strapping techniques to help them heal more quickly and protect their muscles and joints during training and competing. The question stands. Is strapping really a good practice in the treatment for injuries? The benefits of applying traditional athletic tape or ‘strapping’ injured muscles has long been debated by experts in sports physiology.

The terms ‘taping’ and ‘strapping’, depending on the method used can be interchangeable and usually relates to the application of adhesive fabric, either elasticized or rigid, so that it can support joints or soft tissues. The use of functional taping in the rehabilitation of certain injuries from sports, fits well with the current sports medicine philosophies of limiting post-injury and post-surgical immobilization to a minimum and of encouraging active management. So in a nutshell, when you use strapping techniques, you are trying to get stability back. Strapping/taping may be used to treat strains, sprains, dislocations, and some fractures.

One of the main benefits of injury strapping is that it allows athletes to remain active while injured. If clinically appropriate, a physiotherapist can treat injuries using tape to relieve pain. This intervention can minimize inflammation and provide support for injured structures without compromising a healthy range of motion. This allows athletes to continue training and competing as their injuries heal with a faster time for recovery.

Taping can also be beneficial to a person even without an injury. It has been observed, when using the correct tape over a muscle, the circulation to working muscles can be increased. This aids to prevent or relieve spasms and cramps in overused or injured muscles. Furthermore this could translate into improved performance in endurance events.


In most cases, athletes use strapping because tape can be customized and less bulky. Although this may be the method of choice, drawbacks exist, one of which is cost. For example, if an athlete needs recurring taping over an extended period of time, costs can be considerable. Also taking into account that taping loses its effectiveness shortly after play begins, this can also add to the overall cost of the treatment.

Another potential downside of strapping depends on the person applying the tape. Taping that is applied incorrectly may aggravate an existing injury or cause a new injury. It must be applied appropriately by a qualified person.

Many athletes can also become dependent on tape and other gadgets for unloading tendon structures at the expense of fully correcting and maintaining muscle balance. One must remember that strapping or taping should work together with existing injury management. Strapping cannot replace the time needed for resting the injury, which is the best way to unload pressure of a joint and promote healing.

Finally, although professionally recognized and safe, scientific literature remains inconclusive, regarding the clinical efficacy for strapping and taping.

What do you think? You can learn more about strapping and sports injury management at Joost’s Sports Injury Clinic, where creating a life without pain is attainable. Give Joost a call now or make a reservation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *