Many athletes will suffer from ankle sprains in their lifetime, likely with multiple recurrences. Because of this, it is always important to take whatever preventative measures possible to ensure a minimized risk of reinjury. Some measures are more effective than others, but many athletes turn to ankle taping for their go-to prevention. The main concern when looking at treatment options largely involve whether ankle taping is an effective measure to improve ankle stability and assist in the rehabilitation process, and whether or not they hinder performance.
Does Taping Your Ankle Help Or Hinder Recovery?
In a study conducted by Kate Sawkins and other researchers published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, they took 30 participants with recent ankle sprains to test the actual benefits of ankle taping. Three control groups were created, with some of the participants acting as the control group with no taping, a few participants were provided with actual sports tape, and a third group were given a placebo tape, which was known to provide no benefit to ankle support. The subjects were told that both types of taping were effective for different reasons, and were blindfolded on application with a covering around the lower leg after application to ensure the participants couldn’t see which tape had been applied.
Subjects were put through a series of hopping and balance tests. The results of the test showed that ankle taping did not affect performance positively or negatively, only changing the sense of confidence exhibited by the participants. Both the sports tape and placebo tape provided equivalent results.
The conclusion by the authors indicated that while ankle taping does not improve performance, it does not hinder it either, and should not be considered a factor when using tape. It was still suggested, however, that taping is a good idea, as it may still provide some benefit in terms of prevention for injury.
Should I Use Kinesiology Tape on my Ankle?
Many physical therapists and athletic trainers still recommend ankle taping as an effective measure when finding solutions for ankle sprains. Some people also turn to ankle braces as an alternative, but some find braces to be expensive if they are only going to be used in the short-term, and some people find them uncomfortable or don’t fit into their athletic shoes. Generally, many professionals recommend ankle taping for a short-term option, as it tends to be more cost-effective and comfortable. They also recommend ankle taping as the option for those who want to maintain a relatively active lifestyle during the rehabilitation process, suggesting that ankle taping is unnecessary for those who choose to rehabilitate by staying less active and require using their ankles less frequently.
How Do I Apply Kinesiology Tape On My Ankle?
If you think ankle taping is the best option for you, take the time to learn the proper technique for ankle taping. If done incorrectly, ankle taping will provide little to no support, especially if it is focusing on the incorrect areas, or if the application is either too tight or too loose. It is recommended to have a professional physical therapist or athletic trainer apply the tape if you are inexperienced in the area, and especially if you feel you will need the process infrequently. Ensure you take a device to video the process if you plan on applying tape long-term and wish to accomplish it yourself. Practice frequently to ensure you are applying the tape correctly, ensuring you are using the tape to its fullest potential and greatest effectiveness.
There are also different types of tapes on the market today, with the more traditional rigid varieties being the mainstay for treatments, with newer kinesiology tape being the latest introduction into athletic health. The obvious main difference between these two types of tapes is their rigidity, which make them each ideal for different applications.
An article published in the International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences concluded that kinesiology tape was most effective for patients who suffered a first-degree ankle sprain, and generally out-performed traditional athletic tape in those situations. Due to its construction, kinesiology tape is generally regarded as more comfortable and less prone to causing skin irritation over longer periods of wear, and subsequently provides many benefits for a milder sprained ankle. Other more severe cases of ankle sprains where greater ankle support is needed often require a more rigid tape, making traditional athletic tape the more ideal solution.
It is always recommended to consult a physician when considering rehabilitation options. They would be able to give their best recommendations based on your current needs and the severity of the injury to your ankle.
Overall, the general industry consensus shows that taping an ankle sprain does have benefits towards stability and the rehabilitation process. Ankle taping neither increases nor decreases performance when wearing it, providing good neutral support for those who are looking to get active while in the later stages of the rehabilitation process. Many options exist when it comes to ankle support, and it is always a good idea to explore all your options before making a decision on which is best for you.
Colin Hegarty is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When he’s not working, you can find him playing net in a local beer league or biking around the city.