By now everyone has noticed the colourful tape appearing on athletes’ shoulders, knees, and lower legs. Perhaps even a friend or colleague who is not known for sporting activities also shows up with the often neon coloured tape. What you are seeing is most probably Rock Tape, which is a specialised form of adhesive that is tough and more elastic than many other types of sports tape, allowing it to be used longer and for many different types of activity. Rock Tape is used for several reasons: pain, edema control, joint support, and even as a form of corrective exercise tool.
For the purpose of this article I want to focus on pain and rehabilitation. When we get injured, pain will force the body to move in ways that do not aggravate an injury. This is called compensation, and unfortunately can lead to other injuries that will slow down the body’s healing process. The application of Rock Tape can help reduce pain on an injury site by stimulating local receptors in the tissue to respond and also by assisting the lymphatic system to work. The lymphatic system is often overwhelmed initially after an injury. The pull of the tape over a joint is also thought to improve proprioception, or the body’s ability to sense where it is in space. This can improve the joint mechanics and hence function, allowing for better movement and perhaps a reduced risk of repeated injury.
Let’s be honest. A lot of the appeal of Rock Tape is the fashion component, and the idea of wearing it could lead to increased confidence during movement. But this should not be overlooked as a benefit! Any type of taping method is not a stand-alone method to treat or prevent injuries but used with other techniques such as deep tissue massage, active isolated stretching and strengthening, etc., Rock Tape can enhance the beneficial effects of those techniques. Please contact Adrian Yahvah at The Body Group if you have questions about injury, rehabilitation or performance.