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To tape or not to tape?

Posted on 26th Feb 2018 by

When it comes to tape, taping and strapping, things can get a little confusing due to the shear number of different tapes on the market, application methods, reported effects, when to use them, etc.

This blog aims to shed some light on four of the most common tapes out there by describing what they are, why you’d use each them and at what times to use them.

First up, Leukotape Leukotape at goPhysio Taping

  • Used for stabilising joints following injury or during rehabilitation to prevent reoccurrences.
  • Also used to offload painful structures such as irritate knees or hips.
  • This is a non-stretchy, 100% rigid tape that will cause a decrease in range of motion when applied correctly.
  • It has a high adhesive strength which allows it to stick well to skin, and even better to hyperfix (white underlay).
  • It’s 100% cotton which makes it skin-friendly, handy for hikers or runners looking to avoid blisters.
  • Drawbacks: non-elastic and range limiting.

Zinc Oxide Tape Zinc Oxide Tape goPhysio Taping

  • Similar to Leukotape, this white tape offers a little more comfort but with the same rigid properties.
  • Used to protect and stabilise joints for injury prevention.
  • Lighter and less bulky than a brace, this tape will conform to the shape of a joint to provide support.
  • Very popular in climbers to protect the joints of the hand and fingers.
  • Drawbacks: restrictive, range limiting and ineffective if used on oily or sweaty skin.

Kinesiology Tape (K Tape)

  • A popular cotton-based, water-resistant tape with various effects on the applied tissues.
  • This is the colourful tape you often see on athletes or sports people. K Tape goPhysio Taping
  • Lymphatic effects: creates a vertical lift from underlying tissues which decompresses the space between the skin and the muscles. This facilitates blood flow, fluid drainage (management of bruising) and the removal of pain-provoking chemicals from injured tissues.
  • Mechanical effects: longitudinal stretch of up to 180% provides stability and elastic resistance to muscles, ligaments and tendons.
  • Neurological effects: creates a stimulus on the skin that reduces pain signals received by the brain (pain-relief). The vertical lift will also reduce pressure on free nerve endings to help reduce pain levels.
  • Drawbacks: can cause skin irritation if applied incorrectly. Can occasionally cause allergic skin reactions. Application can be complex. Research on the effectiveness of this tape is inconclusive.

Dynamic Tape 

  • A synthetic material (nylon and lyrca) with 4-way stretch.
  • Strong elastic properties make this the ultimate biomechanical tape, with stretch capabilities of up to 200% of it’s resting length.
  • Great adhesion means it will last longer, even when worn during vigorous exercise or in the shower.Dynamic Tape goPhysio Taping
  • When applied correctly this tape will offload injured tissues and offer elastic resistance when performing exercise.
  • This purely biomechanical, load-absorbing tape reduces the force on injured tissues, assists weak muscles, provides support during eccentric loading and improves movement patterns.
  • This tape can also lift the skin if applied accordingly, to facilitate the removal of bruises or relieve tension on underlying structures.
  • Drawbacks: can cause skin irritation and the stronger dynamic tape (eco tape) can reduce mobility quite considerably.

So, in a nutshell……

  • Opt for Leukotape or Zinc Oxide to immobilise and protect joints, the latter offering slightly more comfort but being less durable.
  • Choose K Tape for its range of potential effects, but remember that it lacks strong elastic properties to facilitate movement with any real support.
  • If you need strong, elastic support choose Dynamic Tape. It can be applied in a number of ways to work just as muscles do, which supports tissues and improves movement patterns.

If you have any doubt on the application or desired effects of taping, make an appointment to see one of our team at our clinic in Chandlers Ford, Hampshire. Just give us a call on 023 8025 3317.

 

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goPhysio Joint Focus: The Shoulder

Posted on 25th Mar 2017 by

The shoulder joins the arm to the trunk and is the most mobile, yet unstable joint in the body.

The ‘shoulder complex’ is actually made up of 4 joints

  • The shoulder joint itself known as the Glenohumeral joint. This is a ball and socket type of joint between the head of the upper arm bone or humerus and the glenoid cavity of the scapula or shoulder blade.
  • The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is where the clavicle or collar bone meets the acromion of the shoulder blade.
  • The sternoclavicular (SC) joint is where the clavicle (collar bone) meets the chest bone or sternum.
  • The scapulothoracic joint is where the shoulder blade meets with the ribs at the back of the chest.

Shoulder anatomy

The shoulder joints rely on a complex, synchronised pattern of muscle and joint interaction to maintain stability and function of the whole arm.

This excessive mobility is its main weakness, causing it to become easily injured through trauma or overuse.

Common Injuries

Here are some of the most common shoulder area injuries and problems we tend to see

  • Rotator cuff injuries and tendonopathies
  • Shoulder impingement or subacromial impingement
  • Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis
  • Muscle and ligament tears
  • Tendon problems such as biceps tendonopathy
  • Traumatic shoulder dislocation
  • Recurrent shoulder dislocation
  • Fractures of the humerus or collar bone
  • Acromioclavicular joint sprains
  • Sternocalvicular joint sprains
  • Bursitis

Shoulder injuries are often associated with certain sports such as swimming or tennis, where a large degree of shoulder flexibility is required, along with repetitive and large movements. The shoulder is prone to overuse injuries.

It can also suffer a wide range of traumatic injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, sprains and tears as a result of a fall, impact or collision during sport or every day life.

There are many physiotherapy treatments that can help with shoulder problems. We always start by carrying out a thorough assessment to find out exactly what’s going on with your shoulder. Once this is established, you’ll start a comprehensive rehabilitation programme. This may be a combination of hands on treatments such as soft tissue work, taping, trigger point release, mobilisations or acupuncture and a big focus on exercises to regain strength, flexibility and endurance in your shoulder. A crucial part of recovery from a shoulder injury is making sure all the joints and muscles are working well together, a key part in preventing any future problems.

If you’ve suffered a shoulder injury or are experiencing pain in your shoulder area, give us a call or book an appointment online at our Chandlers Ford Physiotherapy Clinic in Hampshire.

 

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