Sports Tape – Selecting the right type

Whether during training or game day, the danger of injury is only one body movement away.  Pulled muscles and tendons, along with sprained ankles or tissue injuries, are some of the most common complaints that sports people have while performing.  Fortunately, the most common injuries, aches and pains can be avoided by using high quality Sports Tape.Sports Tape AFL

What is Sports Tape (Strapping) and How Can It Help You?

Most sports tapes available on the market today are made of cotton, which means it’s highly absorbent while remaining impervious to water or sweat. Sport tape works by keeping muscles and tendons firm, and protects your muscles by preventing unnecessary strain.  It also prevents chafing and helps hold equipment like foam padding, splints and other gear, in place.  Sports tape can also be used to help minimize additional damage to existing injuries, particularly on the hands, feet and wrists, where many athletes are most vulnerable.

Selecting the Right Sports TapeTape Types

Sports Tape business today is a very competitive industry with many variates of tape available.

The two most common types are:

  • Rigid Sports Tape
  • Elastic Adhesive Bandage

In Australia, Rigid Tan tape is most commonly used for joint support support such as ankles, shoulders & knees. While EAB (Elastic Adhesive Bandage) is typically used over muscle areas or high movement areas like fingers, hands, thighs and on occasion a combination of both tapes is used depending on the injury.

In the USA footballers prefer to use rigid tapes of various colors, this is usually to match the team uniforms, the tape property is no different to the Tan Rigid. This rule is an exception in the case of Kinesio Tape which comes in a many colors and is specially formulated for the treatment of injuries.

What Do I need to Look for When Buying Sports Tape

Sports strapping is a critical element to a sports person’s ability to perform at their highest possible level and purchasing a sports tape that has all the key quality’s, Flexibility, Breath-ability, Supportive Strength, Ease of Applying and Correct Adhesion is the art. Unfortunately price is not a supporting factor as many of the high priced products are well marketed but not supported with performance.
My advice is to ignore price, take samples from as many suppliers and test for the Key Elements.

  • Breath-ability
  • Support
  • Sports Tape Adhesion
  • Ease of Use
  • The Price is Right – that’s a BONUS

In conclusion, selecting the right kind of tape can make or break you (literally!).  That’s why it’s crucial to choose a Sports Tape that provides good air circulation (porous tape) while remaining water and sweat resistant.  There are sports tape products available which are non-porous, these should be avoided at all cost as the key to effective tape is its ability to hold and breathe, strapping to tight can result in circulation problems that can put you more at risk of injury. © 2010


17 thoughts on “Sports Tape – Selecting the right type

  1. I’m advocate of strapping… I recently applied sports tape whilst rehabilitating from a knee strain. Your key elements to look at for are spot on! Thanks for the post.

    • Welcome Patryc,
      Someone like yourself, who has comeback from injury, knows how helpful sports tape can be for rehab.
      Its also great for protecting yourself from re-injuring an old injury as well.
      Glad you found this post helpful. 🙂

  2. Some great information for the sporting enthusiast, many things you have mentioned that I would not have thought of.
    Sporting people will definitely find this a useful article.
    Great Work.

  3. Hi,
    I have to say I agree with you emphatically about the quality and the applications of sports straps. I have had many occasions to use these, not only in my work as a midwife and nurse, but also as a mother of 4 very active kids, and animals too! There are definitely good and not so good and downright ridiculous products on the market. It’s really great to see someone who ‘gets’ the importance of the right tape for the right job!

  4. An interesting read. Can sports tape cause irritation to the skin, like the tape physios sometimes use? My physio puts on a white thin tape before the actual tape, to prevent any irritation. I wondered if this was the case with sports tape?

  5. Is sports tape easy to get off when done with it?

    I used to use regular elastoplast to strap my hands for rowing when blisters formed. Sports tape always seemed likes a heavier option so never tried it. I was worried that when getting it off the blister would come with it. Now there is a nice image…

    • Welcome Tom. Sports tape is fairly easy to take off the skin, except if its hairy in the area concerned.
      I usually shave the area before applying the tape, it makes it much easier and painless to remove.
      You can also get an adhesive under-wrap to attach the sport tape to, making it easier to remove.
      Hope this helps.

  6. Thanks Cade for an interesting post. Sports Tape is something I know nothing about. I have seen it used, and I would have believed that tape was just tape, without realising that it is important to select the right type. With the information that you have given, I would now know what to look for.

  7. Hi Sporty, An informative article. I too look for those key elements of breathability, sports tape adhesion and ease of use. One point I feel can be important is how much residue is left afterwards. I know from experience playing rugby and taping up my ears, a tall second row possibly like Colin, how infuriating it is if it comes off during the game but also I felt it did not look so cool when I still had the band round my head in the pub after the game. Also these tapes need to have some high water resistance for use in the horse riding industry as we use these same sports tapes on the bandages.

  8. Could you tell me what the brand and use of the black or blue tape I see league players wearing on their calf’s or ham strings . The Auckland warriors and canberra raiders players are using it a lot.

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