Taping For Pain Relief

Almost everyone has noticed at one time or another that taping seems to be a part of the treatment plan for world-class athletes, at least for some injuries. This type of treatment procedure is used for many individuals going through a recovery period after an injury, not just world-class athletes. Taping can help many common injuries, and different taping techniques work best for certain cases.  

Many physical therapists and other medical professionals use taping to treat their patient’s injuries. Find out how a physical therapist in NEPA uses tape to treat injuries and how it can help.

Why Tape an Injury?

When individuals injure certain parts of their bodies, it can cause direct trauma to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in and around the surrounding area. In other types of (wear and tear) injuries, muscles, tendons, and ligaments may weaken over time and become unable to provide the proper support for joints and other critical structures. With all of these types of injuries, physical therapists and other medical professionals will often use taping as a way to provide temporary support for weakened or injured structures.

The use of taping techniques as a protective mechanism allows physical therapists and other medical professionals to help their patients recover in various ways. Specifically, bandaging an injured area can help protect against muscle cramping and spasms. It can help with over contraction or overextension of injured areas and stabilize injured joints. Taping can also help improve functional performance and correct faulty mechanics while a patient is recovering. Lastly, taping can help reduce a patient’s pain levels and fatigue level in the injured area. This often allows a patient to remain more mobile and perform at least some of their daily activities. Taping can also help prevent a weakened area from regressing and becoming re-injured. 

What Types of Injuries Can Benefit from Taping? 

Anyone who has ever had plantar fasciitis, a foot issue where the ligament that attaches the heel bone to a person’s toes becomes inflamed, knows that taping can provide much-needed support for this painful condition. Other injuries that can benefit from taping include shoulder tendonitis, knee hyperextension, elbow tendonitis, elbow hyperextension, or wrist hyperflexion/hyperextension. 

Taping can also help provide protection and support for other issues such as hallux valgus (toe bunions), PFJ dysfunction, a condition that causes pain in the front of the knee around the kneecap, and De Quervain’s, a painful condition resulting from inflammation of the tendon(s) around the base of the thumb.

How Physical Therapy and Taping Can Help with Injury

When a physician refers a patient to a physical therapist for further treatment, a PT may incorporate taping as part of their treatment plan. Depending on the injury, a PT may use bandaging as a mechanism to help improve muscle/tendon/ligament/joint weakness or instability. Taping can also provide patients with measurable pain relief since it serves as temporary support until treatment progresses and critical structures can support themselves. 

A variety of different taping techniques are available to physical therapists, and the injury they are treating can help determine which method they will employ. Kinesiology strapping is a taping method that works well when a physical therapist wants to limit the range of motion and muscle movement when treating certain injuries. Rigid strapping is a type of taping that does allow for movement yet still offers joints sufficient stability and support. As its name implies, elastic strapping is less restrictive and is used to provide support and stability for joints and muscles without restricting a patient’s range of motion.

As a patient’s injury begins to improve, a physical therapist will introduce other treatments, such as gentle stretches designed to maintain and eventually increase a patient’s range of motion. As recovery continues, a physical therapist will introduce other exercises designed to strengthen muscles and other vital structures, so they can do the job of supporting the formerly injured area on their own.

Find Out if Taping is Right for You

Taping is a common part of many people’s treatment, especially for sports injury therapy in NEPA. If you are experiencing pain from plantar fasciitis, bunions, or other medical issues that may benefit from taping, Cawley Physical Therapy may be able to help. 

Contact us if you’ve recently suffered an injury or have a medical issue to see if physical therapy can help.