Advice for those Patients Using Sports Tape for Injuries


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This article was provided by Dr. Kevin Wong DC, a chiropractor at Orinda Chiropractic and Laser Center in Orinda, CA. If you’d like to learn more please visit

Sports Tape? Should I be Using it Too?”

The concept of elastic taping has been around for many years and the effectiveness for using it has been well documented. Early pioneers of tape, like Dr. Kenzo Kase, the creator of Kinesiotape, have paved the way for the understanding and usage of tape in as a Chiropractor for my patients.

The use of taping for patients in my practice has historically been noted for athletes. High-performance athletic support, sports injury recovery, functional support and movement enhancement are some of the major uses of the tape that come to mind. But I used tape for any patient who comes in to my office whether they are active or sit at a desk all day. It all depends on their pain location and associated set of problems.

Over the 21 years that I have been applying the sports tape to my patients and teaching Chiropractors specific taping protocols, it astounds me the number of patients who still have never felt the benefits of taping from their trainer, Doctor, massage therapist or another type of health care practitioner.

This practice of using sports tape has been extremely helpful to my patients. I am known in Lamorinda for the taping I do on patient’s feet and shoulders, especially. Many patients ask me for advice on how they can tape themselves at home. So let me share some of the core taping ideas for you and see if they help you be more proficient when you do this at home or at the gym.

The Right Kind of Tape Makes All of the Difference

Throughout the years, medical or sports tape has been made with different materials. When you go out to the drug store or venture into the athletic training or sports departments at schools, you see representations of all of these. Some use pre-wrap while some tape very tightly to immobilize. There are many kinds of tape so you need to choose your brand wisely.

I have used RockTape since the company began in 2011. The qualities of the tape (i.e. to cotton fibers, adhesive, hypo-allergenic nature, non-latex) make it a superior product. That does not mean I hate the other brands, I just think RockTape is better.

When you decide that you are going to begin using tape for your body, please make sure it is not the classic white medical tape that you buy from the drug store. That does not achieve the kind of results you can with the elastic-type tape you get from companies that sell only to medical or sports professionals.

If you get the chance, sit down and play with some of the different types of tape. Each type has some differences and similarities. Then you can see why I choose RockTape every time.

Why Tape At All?

I get this question a lot from patients and from Chiropractors frequently when I am teaching. Here is the simple explanation: As a chiropractor, I perform these wonderful adjustments all over your body. What happens when you leave me and go out of the office? You are potentially doing tons of activities which tend to pull your bones gradually back out of alignment.

Taping supports the bones and joints I have just moved back in place, giving the body a chance to remember what it was like to be more stable. When done properly, it is also amazingly comfortable. My patients feels more relaxed and less worried.

Let me give an example. We are all familiar with the three arches of the foot and how important they are to stabilizing the entire body. We are also aware that the prevalence of excessive foot pronation causes the arches of the feet to collapse over time. If the arches have fallen, the foot flattens and the biomechanics change. The stability from the ground up is compromised and that affects all weightbearing posture and activities.

After I check the patient’s feet and I adjust the 26 bones accordingly, then I am done, right? What happens when the patient gets off my adjusting table, stands up and walks out? The feet are experiencing overpronation and those bones start falling immediately. It is not an instantaneous collapse, but it gradually happens again.

Depending on how much time goes by until the follow-up visit, this leads the patient back to square one with the feet back out of alignment again. Taping is so helpful in this case. The arch support and flexibility provided by good tape allows the foot to drop into normal pronation, but not overpronate.

Taping Good for More Than Just Feet

Do your shoulders hurt? Shoulders pain is such a pervasive problem. In fact, next to lower back pain, it is the area of the body that is second most prevalent in patients I see in practice. Generally I find people have all 5 sets of shoulder joints misaligned, even if they are not complaining of pain. After I assess and treat the shoulder joints accordingly, I use two strips of tape to provide excellent temporary support for the joints of the shoulder area. Not only does this help the shoulder hold in better, but healing goes faster.

Lower back, mid back, neck, wrist, hips, sciatica and Achilles – you name it and I can use RockTape to provide functional support. Research has shown that taping can change blood flow, which is significant since that increased blood flow is a mechanism of healing.

There are many resources to give you pictures or to teach you how to use your tape more effectively. Honestly, I have people Google “Rocktape low back” or “Rocktape achilles tendonitis” or “rocktape whatever”. It will direct you to pictures or videos off the RockTape website that will help guide you when I am not around.

Aside from some of the functional taping described above, you can tape for sports performance enhancement.

Ground Rules for Patients Using Tape:
1. You can leave the tape on while showering. I do not suggest you take a bath or
go in the pool with it, as it may come off. RockTape makes a water resistant type
of tape called RockTape H2O, made especially for water sports.
2. Rocktape says their tape can stay on for 1-5 days. It can stay on for longer but
you need to watch the skin and make sure it is not getting too red or having a
reaction. Remember, lasting for a long time is not necessarily a good thing. If the tape stretches too much, it loses the ability to support the area you are taping.
3. Generally speaking, I tape my patients for athletic events or for support and
expect the tape to last 2-3 days at most. I then make sure they follow up with
another office visit to see how their body is responding.
4. If the skin underneath the tape becomes itchy or you suspect an allergic reaction, take it off immediately. We don’t need any skin problems to arise from the tape.

I will usually tape my patients for the first time and then I will show you how to apply tape yourself. I sell the rolls at a reasonable price so you can have access to them and get some for home, if appropriate. I also teach patients how to tape themselves so they can replace their tape or tape themselves up if they cannot get in to see me immediately.

Since taping has such wide applications for so many types of people, it can be a
wonderful skill for me to teach you. No matter the type of patient I see (i.e. pediatric, sports, geriatric, industrial injury, motor vehicle accidents), I can use tape to support or enhance the muscles, bones and joints.

I hope you found this taping article useful. We can talk about it more when I see you in the office.