Sports tape, elastic tape or or athletic tape is a strip of cotton with acrylic adhesive used for raising injuries related to sports, athletics as well as other physical disorders. It is porous, non-elastic and lightweight but it also has a high tensile strength which makes it ideal for giving compression and firm support for the body.
This elastic therapeutic tape was invented by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1970. It has been used by Japanese acupuncturists, chiropractors, orthopedists and other medical practitioners a decade after it was introduced. Soon it was adopted by the Japanese Olympic team as well as other professional athletes.
Popularity of the sports tape boomed after thousands of it was donated to the United States and it was seen on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Keri Walsh, an Olympic volleyball player was the unofficial model-endorsers of the sports tape after using it on her rotator cuff in one of the competitions. Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong also became a fan of the sports tape and even discussed the effectiveness of it in his book.
Different Types of Sports Tape
Sports tapes are commonly used to protect or prevent injuries especially in sports activities. These days, there are different types of this tape that athletes as well as other consumers can use.
The Pre-Wrap – This is made to counter the irritation which may result from using standard athletic tape directly. This is especially important if you have hairs on the area where you will be applying adhesive. Some people use this to fasten cold packs and bandage securely in place.
Standard Sports Tape – Designed for comfort and support to body parts that are weak or have sensitive muscles for approximately 3 to 4 hours. Cotton is the preferred material for this type of sports tape because it allows the skin to breathe and eliminate moisture. It is recommended to check the wrapped area regularly to ensure that it is not swollen and blood flows through it adequately.
The Stretch Tape – Usually made with rubber based adhesive that sticks to self and resembles soft gauze, stretch tape is used mostly for wrapping pressure dressings as well as strapping muscle injury. This type may not provide much support but it has more motion range and flexibility.
The Kinesio Tape – This is effectively designed to stabilize joints and muscles without limiting your motion range. This type of sports tape allows the skin to breathe and does not hinder blood flow. It can be worn up to 3 days and is said to support the body's kinesiology and helps in the healing process.
Sports tape has many uses and application; contrary to popular belief it is not made for athletes and Olympians. It can support the wrists and hands to help protect and stabilize the hands as well as hold medical dressing in place. Its adhesive coating easily sticks to under wrappings which keep bandages in place. There are kinds of sports tape that is made to stick to the skin but will not pull the area when it is taken off. In some cases, people also use sports tape to wrap around the handle of different sports equipment such as hockey sticks, tennis racks and baseball bats for stronger grip cushion and impact shock resistance.