Rocktape – What is it and why do we use it?

RocktapeRocktape is a brand of those stretchy, colourful tapes you see many athletes wearing nowadays. I’m sure there is some difference in the manufacturing process between different brands, but ultimately I prefer Rocktape purely for the thickness of the tape. The thicker tape allows the patient to better feel, and thus respond, to the feedback the tape provides.

So, why do we use it? There are a couple of reasons.

1. Proprioception, or the ability to know where you body is in space
Stretchy tape allows you to move, while providing feedback about that movement. Your skin sends the signal based on how much stretch, what direction, etc from the tape and this allows us to retrain movements more efficiently. We can also use this proprioception as a feedback loop – if we want to prevent you slouching, we can tape you up in ‘good’ posture. Then, if you feel the tape stretching, you know you have begun slouching.

2. Offloading a muscle
Unike rigid tape, which will lock down / prevent movement, Rocktape and other dynamic tapes allow movement to occur. The elastic nature of the tape provides some (very minor) assistance to the muscles they align with, and this allows us to offload the muscle slightly in the case of a tendonitis, strain, etc.

3. Reducing inflammation / swelling
There are strapping techniques with dynamic tapes to create areas of high and low pressure to help assist in pumping out swelling from an injury site. These are quite effective, and have the added bonus of leaving some cool looking bruises.