You've likely seen sports players use sports tape across their shoulders, arms, hands, backs, and legs. It can be used for different sports such as boxing, football, rugby, track and field, and rock climbing among many others.

How does sports tape help them? 

Well, it gives support to joints, lessens pain and swelling, and improves physical movement. It also helps athletes to be at their best performance without putting themselves at risk. You might think that there's only one kind of sports tape

The truth is there are various sports tapes for different needs. 

Some tapes are very stretchy and flexible allowing wearers to move at different motions. Some are inelastic so joints are immobilized. This gives players protection while they play.

Keep reading to find out more!

Kinesiology Sports Tape

Kinesiology sports tape or K Tape is used by physical therapists and athletes for strains, sprains, and other injuries to the muscles and joints in various sports. 

If you have pain in your joints, this tape is recommended because the skin is lifted, and pain related to swelling is alleviated. This is also helpful for the lymphatic system. That’s because it helps in removing waste and drains toxins more easily which helps in faster recovery. 

K Tape is a famous sports tape option since sports players can keep their activities after having an injury. This very stretch tape can be used for up to 7 days after applying it. It can support recovery without compromising the movement of wearers. 

Since K Tapes are water repellent, they’re more hygienic. This also means that they don't get dislocated easily. The support it provides doesn’t limit movement. It makes it possible to continue physical contact and give good posture and the right technique. You can also cut it to your desired size depending on the support you need. 

It’s latex-free and available in blue, red, and skin colors. 

Uses:

  • Support injured joints and muscles by decreasing swelling

  • Help in recovery by boosting your lymphatic activity and blood flow

  • Help in preventing pain during recovery and activity

  • Can be a defense barrier and second skin if required

  • Provide light support to help the body naturally move and caution you to consider recovering areas when exercising

  • Lessen pain by focusing on the injured area through sensory overload. Sensory overload means distracting the body from pain by giving it another sensation

Cohesive Bandage

Cohesive bandages are easy to use and lightweight. Since they can be torn using the hands, it’s perfect if you're a busy and active player. This can be used and adjusted many times for different pressure and tension. 

This tape is also very versatile, so it’s not only used in sports but also in hospitals, veterinary clinics, and physical therapy sessions. 

The bandage sticks to itself which means you don’t need to secure it with tape or safety pins. You also don’t need scissors to tear it. You can also reapply so that you can adjust it intermittently. Since it’s available in different colors, you can easily match it with your team’s color. 

Uses:

  • Reduce bleeding since it compresses wounds. Please remember to dress open wounds first since sports tape can’t be used directly on wounds.

  • Provide support to hands, fingers, and other extremities

  • Connect and secure grip and club socks for football games

  • Safeguard dressings and keep them in place to protect wounds during games

  • Keep heat or ice packs in position

  • Protect your shin pads

  • Do quick taping

Elastic Adhesive Bandage (EAB)

EAB tape is usually used for moderate support. It’s a fabric tape with adhesive at the back. The tape itself is usually a combination of cotton and elastic while the adhesive is acrylic or latex-based. 

The degree of stretching is not the same for all brands. Often, the more expensive the tape is, the stretchier it is. 

Because it’s simple and versatile, the fabric can be moved easily around your fingers and other hard-to-reach parts. You can also use it as an under or over-wrap when you secure straps because it’s flexible. 

It’s also more hygienic and lasts in place longer because it’s water-repellent. The bandage also stays in place since it sticks to the skin. You also have better control of the tape. 

Uses:

  • Give moderate support to stabilize ligaments, tendons, and joints. This is extra beneficial for players doing vigorous exercises.

  • When lifting weights, it can be used to tape thumbs for support. You can also use it on sprained thumbs.

  • Prevent tears from rugby and Cauliflower Ear which is a condition caused by getting the ear exposed to blunt force repeatedly in games

  • Can be used as line-out tape for executing lifts in rugby

  • Compress strains and sprains

  • Hold rigid tapes

Tear Light EAB

Unlike regular EAB, tear light EAB can be torn using your hands. So, you don’t need scissors to cut. This makes this tape more flexible and ideal for active and busy players. 

It's more beneficial for competitive sports where quick first aid and pre-match taping are needed. Using this tape makes them more efficient. 

It’s made of 100% cotton, so it’s more lightweight compared to regular EAB. The crinkled fabric helps you keep your position on top of another player. The regular and tear light EAB can be used in the same situations. But, tear light EAB is recommended if you need tape for on-the-go and fast applications. 

The uses are the same as standard EAB.

Premium Sports Tape

Premium sports tape or P Tape is made of rayon. It’s commonly used by sports rehabilitators and physical therapists. This is the main choice for dealing with sport-related injuries that require a part to be immobilized. That's because it has a very powerful hold. 

One of the best features of this tape is that it has a medical-grade coating for its adhesive. So, using the entire tape roll will make treatment a smooth experience.  You also won’t need scissors to work with this tape. 

Uses:

  • Give strong support since it can stabilize and immobilize weak joints in the hand, fingers, shoulders, wrists, ankles, and knees among many others

  • Because of its intense support, it’s perfect for intense sports such as rugby, football, hockey, and combat sports

  • Provide safety to the joints even when exposed to much pressure which makes recovery faster. 

  • Can be used as a blister tape that won’t get displaced on the skin when you go on long runs and hikes

Zinc Oxide Tape

Zinc oxide tapes are sturdy tapes. They’re made from non-stretch cotton. Similar to premium sports tape, it can give the highest support to joints that require restraint. The tape got its name from a zinc oxide adhesive that’s good for the skin. This adhesive also makes it possible for the tape to be in the place where it was applied.

Due to its strength, this is a popular sports tape choice for boxers, wrestlers, CrossFit, football, cricket, rugby players, and climbers. You'll benefit more from this tape if you're a CrossFit player because you can use it to prevent sore feet and strap your hands or feet when there’s a lot of friction in your activity. Besides injuries, you can prevent blisters from forming.

The tape is available in many sizes, so you can use it not only to support your thumbs, fingers, and toes but also your bigger joints. Therefore, the tape’s high versatility helps in preventing many sports injuries in many activity types. 

Aside from being sturdy, zinc oxide tapes are breathable. They can withstand humid conditions so they’re lasting and well-adapted. This is possible because of the tape’s non-stretch cotton fabric. You don’t need to worry about the tape shifting around since it sticks to the skin. You can also tear the tape by using your hands. 

Uses:

  • Can be used during activities with high pressure because it stays in place without irritating the skin

  • Protect the hands, knuckles, and wrists of Muay Thai, MMA, and other combat sports players when they train or fight

  • Treat blisters which are common during running or hiking

  • Protect joints from rolling or getting twisted in activities since the tape can’t be stretched

  • Protect your fingers and hands when you grapple during rock climbing

  • Stabilize different joints and support immobilization when needed

  • Treat verruca

  • Protect the fingers and hands of goalkeepers

Finally, you know the different sports tapes and how they can be used. If you use the wrong sports tape, you won’t be able to take advantage of its benefits to the body. You could also cause damage since the blood flow can be disrupted to important areas of the body or cause pressure on the injured or weak joints. 

Still not sure what sports tape to use? You can check out Hampton Adams. This is a store that’s focused on producing quality athletic tapes, bandages, and ice packs. They offer a lot of color options for their products.

Author's Bio: 

Sophia