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TAPING : useful or useless ?

by Jane Green MA Ed.

It's been around for about 30 years + very useful for symptomatic hypermobile joints, weakened muscles, ligaments. Every time I used to sprain my ankle or knee ligament I was sent away with absolutely NO support or even belief.


I decided to find out how to support rather than wrapping loads of crepe bandage around the area so I could continue in my career. I studied, bought a book on taping. There have been mistakes without a doubt and here are some common ones:

1 - to apply it in the wrong area

2 - to pull it too tight

3 - too loosely

4 - leave it on too long

5 - to not use barrier cream so you end up with huge hives and burning rashes


When you've injured a joint but it is out of a splint, taping might help the next stage of lighter support recovery, improving blood flow, lymphatics and of course our inner sense of proprioception which is often not as good as it could be. It would be useful to have more studies funded for the benefits of this support but anecdotally I find most symptomatic joint hypermobile people find it helpful.


The tapes come in different strengths and widths, so some wide, some thinner and more suited to fingers and toes. It can be cut to shape or ready to tear. There are many videos clips on using but ideally at first, I would suggest having a 1:1 demonstration to show you how to apply it, take a photo particularly if it is a regular joint like an ankle giving way.


It's good idea to be mindful of your skin type. Some of us have very fragile easily torn skin and even the most careful taping is a big risk. Others, like myself, have the thick skin but still at risk of allergic reaction to the tape as mentioned so using barrier creams and sprays alleviate this risk.


Finally, the barrier creams and sprays I find very useful to use beforehand. The tape can be left on for some days and is also waterproof. The coloured ones often vary in strength but I find using different colours are more interesting too.

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