We often using taping or a brace as a part of our treatment of your injury but how long should you use the tape / brace and what is its long term effect?
There are numerous types of taping and bracing – some we use to restrict the movement, for instance rigid taping for ankles to stop you rolling your ankle at netball or soccer and other types we use to increase your movement e.g. k-tape that helps lengthen the muscle beneath it.
We never aim to have you become reliant on your tape or brace and try to wean you off it over a period of time combined with strengthening and stretching exercises. However if you are at a high risk of re-injury, for example someone who has had multiple ankle sprains and has an overstretched ankle ligament, the tape or brace may become the long term solution for sports.
If you’ve never had an injury but have been encouraged to tape or brace for your sport you do have to consider WHY you are taping or bracing? Is it fear that you will injure yourself? Are you protecting an old injury that needs to be looked at? Is that part of your body not strong enough for that particular sport? This is where we can help – we can advise on the type of taping or bracing that would suit you best and we could also prescribe some strengthening exercises to prevent an injury from occurring.
Taping or bracing long term is not going to make you weaker however it may alter your ability to control your joint without it (proprioception). Taping and bracing can help to prevent injuries and are a great adjunct to many treatments however it’s always ideal to know WHY you are doing something before you do it for the long term.
Deb Chen, Physiotherapist