Sports Physiotherapy: Pros and Cons of Bracing and Taping

Professional athletes and everyday recreational sportsmen are often out of action when injuries happen.  Bracing and taping are great tools to assist recovery of the damaged structures, or to support movement in certain positions so we can continue to exercise.  Some also use them as an injury prevention measure. There is an extensive variety of braces and many different taping techniques sports physios use. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons you know when to use either of these tools.

Bracing

Bracing is an external device applied to a joint by restricting movement and hence stabilising the joint.  It comes in different sizes. A well-fitted brace can reduce pain by keeping the injured structures out of the painful range of motion. There are also different materials of braces available depending on the stability required: the fabric ones are softer, permitting more movement while the other ones are more rigid.   

Pros

  • Easy application and removal
  • Re-usable and cost effective
  • Provides significant support for return to play/ assist recovery/ pain relief

Cons

  • Requires regular cleaning especially when being worn for long hours
  • Bulky when compared to taping, especially for larger joints
  • Long term application can result in muscle weakness when injured structures rely on braces for stability

Taping

There are broadly two types of tape that are widely used by sports physio: rigid and kinesio tape.  Rigid tape, as the name suggests, enhances rigidity of joints. It stabilises joints by being applied to weakened injured structures such as a sprained ligament.  Kinesiotape is stretchy and it facilitates muscle movement to rehabilitate for injuries.

Pros

  • Not as bulky as braces and is easier to move around/ play sports with
  • Cheaper than braces
  • No sizing required and gives very customised fit to provide optimal support when applied appropriately
  • Kinesiotape tape can facilitate muscle activation

Cons

  • Material and glue may irritate skin
  • Needs frequent re-application if long term support is required
  • Non-reusable therefore if required for long term can be costly
  • Requires someone else (e.g. a sports physio) to apply for you (unless you have practised a dozen times although will still be awkward)
  • Can be painful to remove and may leave glue marks (and hairless patches for the hairy ones)

If you suffer from any acute or old injuries and would like to explore the options of taping or bracing to get yourself active and moving, feel free to contact our friendly team at Capital Physiotherapy.

Want to know more about Melanie – Our Hawthorn Physiotherapist?

capital physiotherapy hawthorn clinic's physiotherapist Melanie Lim profile shotMeet Melanie Lim, a Bachelor of Physiotherapy Graduate from the University of Melbourne. She has gained a wealth of clinical experience through both public and private systems during her undergraduate studies to be here today at Capital Physiotherapy’s Hawthorn Physio clinic.

At the Hawthorn physio clinic, Capital Physiotherapy offer bulk billing for their patients. Get in contact with Melanie today and book an appointment for a one on one session with her!She has completed advance training to specialise in a range of physical therapy treatments such as sport, dance, pre and postnatal, and dry needling. With a keen interest in treating and educating her clients (and YouTube audience), she aims to create custom pain treatment management plans for the Hawthorn community, and Melbourne at large.

Additional Information:

We also provide Telehealth Consultation for your safety and convenience during this pandemic.

Keeping in mind these tips/advice are of general nature and do not take your injuries/history into considerations. If you are experiencing any pain or would like an individualised tailored program to help improve your dancing, I highly recommend you speak to any one of your physiotherapists to guide you through your rehab journey.

Here at Capital Physiotherapy, our women’s health physiotherapists are the experts in helping you to fix your issues as well as all the discomfort that comes with it!

We can help you lead a healthier and pain free lifestyle.

Our physiotherapist will be able to give a full assessment on you and come out with individualised advice/ treatment plan that is tailored for your particular needs.

At Capital Physiotherapy, your initial appointment is 40-60minutes long. This allows our physios to be thorough in their assessment, as well as giving them enough time to give you treatment on the same consultation!

For any physiotherapy related concerns drop us an email [email protected] 

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