What is Therapeautic Taping?
Physiotherapists have many clinical tools at their disposal and therapeautic taping is one of them. Amongst other things, tape can be used clinically to reduce strain on damaged tissues, provides mechanical support to facilitate correct movement patterns, and facilitate or inhibit muscle activity.
Appropriate taping techniques can assist the therapist to address the underlying cause of the patient’s conditions. Taping techniques are rarely used in isolation; rather they are usually used in conjunction with appropriate exercises or other manual therapy techniques.
Excellent knowledge of anatomy of the area to be taped is imperative to the success of the technique and the safety of the patient. All physiotherapists are trained at an undergraduate level in musculoskeletal anatomy which underpins the progression of learning that continues at a postgraduate level. Anyone can apply tape to another person but without the knowledge needed to make this technique appropriate to the injury and the needs of the patient, you are merely placing a ‘band aid’ on someone that may not be helpful to their recovery.
Pain is one of the most frequent reasons patients present to a physiotherapist for treatment. Several studies have concluded that tape as an adjunct to treatment of musculoskeletal conditions does effectively reduce pain. However, the mechanism, or mechanisms, as to how tape assist in pain reduction is not fully established. It is likely related to a reduction of the stress on injured or pain-provoking tissues by the mechanical or neuromuscular effects of tape.
If a physiotherapist can reduce pain with tape it provides an opportunity to more adequately direct treatment to removal of the underlying causes of the condition.
There is considerable evidence that tape is an effective adjunct to treatment in the management of a number of musculoskeletal conditions. There are also a number of studies that question the validity of taping, or the underlying assumptions as to its effects.
In the hands of a qualified physiotherapist that has studied human anatomy extensively, taping can be a powerful tool in reducing pain and/or it can help to return damage tissues/joints to normal function.