How, why and when you should sports tape? with Grace Hodgkiss #4

Sports tape and braces are very familiar if you are around sports or athletics. But what do they really do?  
In this episode with NHS MSK (Musculoskeletal) and Rugby physiotherapist Grace Hodgkiss, we explore the truths behind the use of sports tape and sports bracing.

In this episode we cover:

  • When is taping used in sports
  • What is a different type?
  • When Grace uses them
  • How to understand how and when to use the tape.
  • Psychological effects of using tapes
  • Knee and ankle braces?
  • Why Taping is not a substitute to exercise.

For an episode we did on Is running bad for you ? check here

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Sports Tape and Bracing Transcripts


[00:00:00] Farouk: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Rooks elk podcast. If you’re new around here, I am Farrukh bellow. I am the host of the show and creative self and today’s episode. We put to the stand. Taping and bracing, not braces, like the one for your teeth, but braces like knee braces and ankle braces and regular taping. Because I think a lot of people do take people who run basketball, football, you tape your knees, your tape or ankle, and you think it protects you today.

[00:00:31] We’re going to ask you that question. Is it doing what you think it actually does? And how useful is it? I have a very. Special guests today, someone who I’ve actually shadowed in the world of sports, physiotherapy, and someone who I think knows a lot about what they’re saying, which is a general thing of.

[00:00:51] The podcast, but without wasting your time anymore, in the case of taping versus the people [00:01:00] I present to you.

[00:01:25] Gracee: [00:01:25] I’ll let you introduce yourself. Yes, I um, so my, um, senior physiotherapist working in the NHS, um, Currently I am on I’m a respiratory therapist, but that’s what I need you to COVID-19 outbreak. Um, I am normally I senior ms. Physiotherapist working in a normal outpatient clinics and then for a bit of flow and another bit of pocket money, I work for a.

[00:01:58] Semiprofessional [00:02:00] shame. So I try to sign and Thursday game days on a Sunday or a Saturday. So I really enjoy my job. I put that in there.

[00:02:13] So the main topic is. Is taping necessary. Cause I know taping is something, especially in sports. I know something a lot about leads to do. I see. Cause I play myself, people tape before sports before like a March, even after March. And the idea is that from where I’ve seen it as that it’s supposed to give you my protection before an injury or even some people use after injuries as, also from a protection.

[00:02:40] So really what I want to specifically ask is, is it really necessary? To tape.

[00:02:49] That’s a good question. Um, I think from a physio point of view, we have to sort of look at different areas of [00:03:00] physio and how we utilize our typing. So in the NHS, it probably isn’t. I. Need for type typing as much as there is in sports physio. Um, so the only piece of instance where I’ve come across typing in the NHS has been for stroke patients.

[00:03:26] So for shoulder subluxations, and, um, I’ve found that in the NHS with. Um, typing’s been quite beneficial for those stroke patients with shoulder subluxations. Um, and then ms. K set in, I haven’t really used tape at all. Um, it’s been more hands on treatments and exercise prescription. Now, when you jump into the sports physio setting, Um, it sort of totally [00:04:00] changes people’s mindsets and your patients are totally different in a sports setting.

[00:04:05] Um, so I’ll just tell you about the sort of type in that are using that we’ve used, um, for the players that I work with. So we work with fires. Um, and the tape that I mostly use would be, um, would you type and call support rigid, take for, um, thumbs and fingers and K type mainly for, well, To assist with shoulder retraction and I’ve used it a couple of times with hamstrings, um, gastrocs.

[00:04:59] So for [00:05:00] people that, like the say like in every person who is a, went on a run and they feel like their ankle is a bit unstable or maybe they’ve had a previous injury before, and then they decide, okay, let me get some tape on my arm. Let me tape it up. Or tape my knees as protection before I do the sport.

[00:05:18] Is that record, is, would you say that’s necessary or like be with evidence-based? Like, what does evidence say about using taping for injury prevention?

[00:05:30] Different evidences really. So you have to sort of filter through the ones that are promoting type purely because they they’re funded buyer by an organization that would want you to promote pay. And then you’ll find some people that say no, there isn’t, there’s no evidence that rigid type is, could be used as a preventative measure.

[00:05:56] Um, from what I found in [00:06:00] the practice, um, it’s not useful for a preventative measure. It’s more useful if. Players have had, um, recall an ankle strains, um, recurrent ankle sprains, and they just want that extra bit of support for when they’re about, um, play, um, play a map. So in that sense of found the ankle type in rigid ankle type food has been quite useful, quite beneficial for the players.

[00:06:37] Just for that extra bit of. Confidence when they go back onto the pitch. I wouldn’t say it as a, as a preventative measure. Uh, so it’s that psychological cause, um, what’s it called? I’ve heard like debates of people talking and they say like, let’s say you’re playing like American football or rugby. And they will say like, okay, it’s nice to tape your ankle.

[00:07:00] [00:06:59] But if someone who is about a hundred kg lands on your uncle, that tape can only do so much. And it can only really protect you to an extent. So like it’s more psych the psychological aspect. Cause I’ve seen, I know some people, even myself, when I tape, obviously, maybe sometimes people may use the right tape.

[00:07:20] You use like regular K tape or. Regular. What’s the, what’s the regular rigid one zinc oxide tape, for example, to protect yourself. Do you feel like the mental, psychological aspects, like the protection people feel it gives them is more important is like it’s overshadowed by the act. What is actually doing in terms of protecting your ankle from moving left or right.

[00:07:42] Or like getting out of on stable. Yeah, I think, I think that plays a massive part, particularly in sports. I think the research has shown that it’s only, you only see the effects for a couple of minutes. And then after that, it’s all well, it’s placebo effect. [00:08:00] Um, but you can see it in players who have, so we have a couple of players who from Australia and they have types their ankle.

[00:08:10] Um, as a preventative measure, basic. So they’ve never had any ankle strains and sprains. They’ve never injured their own core four

[00:08:20] because it is a big confidence. And it’s, uh, it’s more of a mental thing for them rather than the fact that the type itself is, is assisting with their ankle. Um, But yeah, it definitely plays a massive part. Um, it helps with the player’s mental status as well. If they’ve got something that’s compact and tight on their own, I mean, they’ve said it themselves, they’ve got a lot more thrown onto a pitch where the ankle that they’ve originally heard.

[00:08:51] If they felt a lot more confident play that much, if they [00:09:00] were just let loose without any scores or what about the, uh, I know there’s an argument where the people say that like taping actually limits your range of movement or limits. You basically makes you a bit more stiff, new you lose agility and flexibility.

[00:09:18] And while you sacrifice, well, you start caressing, agility and mobility for stability. If that makes sense, is there any credence or any real, um, was any real way to that argument that you lose flexibility when you tape.

[00:09:44] Whether it is the players are losing flexibility and agility. If they’ve got some tech. Cause I mean, like you’ve said, um, is, is the type really giving them support and reducing the [00:10:00] range of motion. Um, and if, if that is the case and it’s not really the most narrow range of motion, then they shouldn’t really lose that much flexibility or.

[00:10:10] Well, I mean, in the short term, probably limited range of motion because that’s what you want to do. That’s what you want to do with the rigid type. You don’t, you want to support that joint. Um, after a couple of minutes, the effects have worn off and once I’ve got a sweaty, all of the, the stickiness has come off and the tight strap.

[00:10:36] It probably isn’t reducing. Yeah, it probably isn’t reducing the range of motion. Lock it originally. Wasn’t that wouldn’t really lose that much flexibility originally. Okay. And the type of tapes. Cause I know the loads of types of tapes, the zinc as we do as you, I think you mentioned a bit zinc this kinetic tape.

[00:10:57] Uh, what else is there? I don’t know the rest, but [00:11:00] you, the differences between the tapes. How much of a significance do they play, or I know they’re mostly, what’s the word contextual. So like, depending on what you’re actually trying to tape, but , when would you use one? Would you wouldn’t use the other or is it just like everyone you have available?

[00:11:26] You’ve got the AI based in the stretchy. So yeah, which is the rigid stuff. Um, you’ve got karyotype as well, which is a stretch. And I normally stick to range of motion. The bandage or the AIB are normally the top of the rigid, or just to provide a little bit of support. Um, I use it more so too. [00:12:00] I wouldn’t put it on in a, in a certain way.

[00:12:03] So I wouldn’t, um, abnormally wrap it around the joint to try and reduce some swelling or something like that. Um, and the KT tape. A bit of proprioceptive feedback for the players books. This is all in theory. You can get players who come and outside or use that type for this joint. And this is how I do it.

[00:12:28] So you sort of just have to adapt to how, what, they’re, what they look and what’s, what’s normal for them. Cause thing is, if, if you mess with their pregame mindset, then. They feel like if they don’t perform on that pitch very well. It was to do with the type and the sort of type and the way that I applied the type to the knee.

[00:12:56] But it’s not really the whole, [00:13:00] it’s not the whole story as to why

[00:13:04] you see people. A lot of athletes, they do like where they tape, like their hamstrings or they’ll tape, like the chords. Is that the one, like, mainly for purpose of just like, if you have an injury, but I think sometimes I see people using it just because they. They’re not really sure. So what can you, can you explain the taping of the act, the hamstrings, the courts.

[00:13:24] Some people also do, like, I think they do with some of the forearms or something that moved their biceps or something like that, or the shoulders.

[00:13:33] Well, they have it. Um, so the ankle type that I use is normally rigid zinc oxide. And it’s normally for players who have injured their ankles previously. So like I said, they’re rolled around cause of the typical ankle strain ankle. Um, and he needing a bit of assistance. Well, they need a bit of, um, The extra step to get them [00:14:00] back into play in normally.

[00:14:02] Um, so I’ll use my rigid type for that. A lot of the rugby league plays a lot to get their films tight. I don’t that the players haven’t bought the players are taped. I think one of them has had a, some dislocation and that was just the one and only, or these are just four. Again, I think placebo really they’ve maybe hit their thumb on the court ball, thought it was painful and asked for some ask for some type or normally use the 2.5 centimeter banded shape for that, because it gives them a little bit more mobility in their thumb.

[00:14:42] So it doesn’t impede when they’re trying to catch a ball or how they throw a ball. And then I’ll use KT tape. I use the KT tape mainly for shoulder retraction. So it gives them a little bit more feedback. [00:15:00] Um, traps, low traps. Just so that they know that, um, I want them to retract their shoulders. So most of the B players they’ll, they’ll go to the gym.

[00:15:11] They’ll overtrain that Paxil over train their doubts, they’re emptying their doubts and they come in really cold. Their shoulders are really protracted. Um, so obviously a little bit of K type. Isn’t gonna sort their posture out. In in, in a second, but it just reminds them that you need to start thinking about your posture needs to start thinking about my rejecting those shoulders, especially when they’re going into do their training sessions in the gym.

[00:15:46] Um, I’ll just put a couple of two, 2.5 centimeters, um, K type and I’ll put it into it. Five send to me to strip and run it [00:16:00] along the mid traps, probably a thick one and the low trap. Um, yeah, just, just to sort of facilitate that that’s classic extension and shoulder shoulder, get a little attraction a bit more.

[00:16:16] That’s how I mainly use it. I mean, I have used, um, Are returned to well end stage return to play of hamstring strains. Um, again, set your feedback and I’ll just use two big thick, big, thick, I think they’re about five centimeter. Five centimeter ones and I’ll just run them along the path of the hamstrings.

[00:16:47] Again, practice after feedback for when that, when that.

[00:16:54] Okay. So that’s, so that, that makes sense because from what I know from based on my knowledge is like, if [00:17:00] you’re taping it, it’s for like, presents to remember, remember to use this muscle, remember to be about like bat Bosch or things like that. Remember to. Try and try and adjust yourself. So it just gives you that sensation, like, okay.

[00:17:12] Remember to use these muscles or if you had like, remember to just focus on this, so you don’t completely ignore it and it doesn’t solve your problem to be honest. Okay.

[00:17:25] What about, uh, next part is actually sports brace sports braces. Um, I’ve seen a couple of people use it the wrong way, or what I think is the wrong group. I think I’ve even been guilty of using it the wrong way at times. Um, it’s like using braces cause obviously braces are, I think if I would say they were like a step up from taping because they’re actually depends on the type.

[00:17:47] Yeah. Some are more restrictive, some are like bulkier, but using them in like an, a game situation or maybe before you run or before you do a sports, was it, is it recommended to brace up? [00:18:00] I suppose again, it’s at what stage

[00:18:09] Bryce is that I’ve come across and the only sort of braces that I’ll promote, um, would be your initial stage of your injury. So when you really want to reduce range of motion, if. If that’s, what’s indicated for this specific injury or wouldn’t really well, I had one player ask whether, um, he should wear a knee brace for his ACL injury.

[00:18:39] Um, and I sort of suggested, well, I don’t really want to reduce your range of motion in the knee at the moment. So. I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say, yeah, go and buy, go and buy this expensive brace that you’re going to put round. You need that. Not gonna lie when you [00:19:00] wandering around and you dive it on the floor, it’s going to be rear ended.

[00:19:02] And I was, I have two games. There’s probably no point in no point in using one in that sense, then again, I do know, I do know some people who. Well, did he, people who have osteoarthritis of the knees and I find that having a compression bandage or brace around it, um, is really beneficial. But in, in that sense, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t really recommend it.

[00:19:30] Cause as, as we all know that you want to sort of increase the strength around that joint, just to back up the muscles and supported it with a brace you want using the muscles like you would normally. So. Again, I wouldn’t use, I wouldn’t really recommend advice in that sense either. And it’s basically like dependent on if you’ve had, let’s say you’ve had an injury or you feel like.

[00:19:56] Um, they say your ankle or your knees onto there. It kind of also depends on [00:20:00] what stage, but is it safe to say that if you’re using, um, for example, like a big brace with metals on the sides and you want to try and play, maybe you’re not yet ready to start playing yet and maybe they are, yeah. That’s fair to say.

[00:20:15] Cause I would have thought the same. Yeah.

[00:20:24] It depends on what stage of your injury. And like you said, if you’re at the stage where you still need metal on the external part of your, of your body, you’re probably not ready to go into full contact return to, or even, even other noncontact sports or, or other athletes and things. If you need metal support around your joints, then you’re probably not on the stage where you’re ready to.

[00:20:53] Participate in those. And I think I’ve seen that a couple of times where people sometimes try and replace [00:21:00] like good old maybe exercise or strength training. And they’re just trying to tip it up after if I’m guilty of that too, as well. That’s back in the like a few years ago, when as if, for example, I just, I spray, I sprained my ankle a lot, way more than I would be way more than I want to.

[00:21:16] And then I’ll spray in it. And then this is what I’ll do. Yeah, it depends on like, how about I sprain is that’s it’s for example, I can tell it’s not a grade three where I can still walk on it. I’ll just leave it for a while. I leave for all the next thing I’ll do when I go home is maybe I’ll put some ice on there or my knees on my knees, actually another one.

[00:21:32] I’ll just tape it. And then. And then I’ll try and get back to playing sports way too early than I need to, but then I’ll think to myself, Oh, I’ve taped it up. So it should be fine. The logic, the bad logic I used to use was I’ve never injured myself tape while my uncle was taped, but I’ve only injured it when it wasn’t taped.

[00:21:54] So it’s in my, in my head. Like you have to tape it if you want to be protected. And do you think that, do you find that people [00:22:00] actually, that is what people think like that as well. We tape this stuff. They’ll just be fine. They don’t need to tape any, you don’t need to do anything else.

[00:22:14] And you think everything’s going to be foreign. Cause you’ve got, now you’ve got this external thing. That’s going to reduce your range of movement and prevent any injuries occur. And again, in that joint, when, I mean it’s been shot, lot research has shown that he doesn’t really do that. Does it SPMS. And even if we give somebody a, so let’s talk about T one braces.

[00:22:36] So that’s when Logan orthopedic surgeon  set the right angle. And then you go and see a patient and they’ve got it on over trousers. Um, it’s not tight enough. It’s sunk down the leg. So the actual hinge of the table embraces around the middle of their cough. It’s not really doing much, to be honest. Um, [00:23:00] yeah, but I mean, they feel like then.

[00:23:03] But yeah, it’s the same with tires really they’ll feel like that they’re knee supported and athletes are fair luck there. Their knee supported. It’s a quick fix. Don’t lock. Do an exercise. I don’t not during specific exercises for them. They just want to get back to playing and want to get back to being paid.

[00:23:20] Um, and like we said, at the start of this, I think type is quite a big, uh, There’s a big mental component about it, rather than physical hard evidence of how good type and is actually are. And yeah, I think the mental component of it is. Yeah. And I don’t know exactly, but I know this from like growing up from growing up in like a sports environment, it’s just, that’s how it’s kind of being, that’s what everyone always thinks.

[00:23:58] And I don’t know why or [00:24:00] where it started from. Cause like a lot of myths in sports in people who do exercise or just things that people just think, well, you know, It’s it’s what they said is what I’ve heard from around everywhere. And, uh, I don’t know where it actually originated from you reckon is like old evidence.

[00:24:16] That’s not because I know like if you read. If you read, maybe a study published in the spit balling here 19, 1950s, because when you read it another study done, now they probably did this credits in that study or some, some studies last good with time. Do you think, like they were older studies and the older people were getting trained to think that or not being properly informed of like taping and all this type of thing.

[00:24:42] Yeah. I mean, whenever you ever pick up an article or a piece of, um, study or anything, you’ve always got a critically appraise it and see, see who’s wrote in it and when they wrote it and all that jazz, um, cause I [00:25:00] mean maybe the evidence that came out. If we, if we think thinking that maybe it was old evidence, um, maybe it was, it was the manufacturers that produce the evidence and decide that that braces and type help.

[00:25:18] Well, no, that was wrong to say that there’s, they’re solid evidence to say that brace and, and type reduced range of movement movement, and therefore we do injury recurrence. So yeah, I mean, Yeah. If we think, and then if it’s like old evidence, then it is probably likely, as soon as those braces came into manufacturer that they were looking for evidence to support it, just to promote it, to use in sports.

[00:25:49] I think, well, it’s like, well, I think as you said before, like when people, like, if you’re looking at a study and the person who the study is sponsored by a K a taping company, you might want [00:26:00] to be more skeptical like about whether or not it’s actually valid. Cause I think you’ve seen in almost every other scenario, if I’m sponsoring a study, most of the time, I want it to be in my favor of whatever.

[00:26:12] Trying to promote at the same time. Um, so for people who think some of the people listening, they’re thinking, well, maybe they do take normally or they think, or they have the misconceptions. What could you like advise them on, say, I can make a summary about why, whether or not you should be taping. Cause I know it’s a law.

[00:26:30] It’s very. Personal life depends on person to person. As you said, like some people have it in a routine where tipping is pretty much how they want to win, but would you say it’s detrimental, but you just say it’s like, if it works for them and what advice would you give? Yeah,

[00:26:52] just try and be as clued in.

[00:26:57] What brand of type tiers as well. Cause [00:27:00] some, some brands it types really expensive. And that probably is one of the reasons why it’s used mainly in sport is because there’s a lot of, a lot of money behind those different, those. Different sports and athletes. So they’ve got, they’ve got the funds to use, to use type following discredited in the NHS because we don’t have the funds in the NHS to provide take for every single patient that comes in through the doors.

[00:27:27] Um, so yeah, I’d probably just say, just make sure you’ve educated around what different types do you use? Um, what different braces. Is there a, what are the pros and cons often them of, of not using them. Um, and like you said, it is a personal preference. Really. If you’re doing type on yourself, I it’d be pretty difficult to do some types of type when you sell.

[00:27:54] So you’re probably not going to get the full benefit of having someone else or a physio or another health [00:28:00] professional doing it on you. Um, but they just have a feel and see what it’s like. Um, cause it, you might find that a brace works really well for you and if it works really well for you, then there’s no one should really say stop using it.

[00:28:20] Um, I’d also just say that if it is for. Rehab of an injury. Um, don’t use a Bryce or, um, type as the be all and end all. That’s not going to be the end stage of your injury. It’s got to be, um, exercise, um, specific to that injury. You want to make sure everything’s is as topnotch as it can be. Um, With regards to strength and coordination and all of that stuff.

[00:28:52] Before you sort of lie back on the rain and just, just use a Bryce or, or type. [00:29:00] Okay. And quickly one, a few more things is, um, do you think, like most of your knowledge around these things like taping and what do you think they’ve mainly been off experience of you working in, in the world, in the world of sports?

[00:29:14] Or do you feel like it’s mostly from what you learned in school, which you think is about? I think, and I think this probably goes for everything that I’ve learned. Um, you learn the basics at uni. And you only really learn when you, when you on the job and every single person is different. So you’ve got to just take what you’ve obviously have it all in the back of your mind.

[00:29:42] Um, what you’ve learned at uni and all the theoretical knowledge that you’ve gained. And try and apply it as much as you can to each patient, but sometimes you just got to think on your toes. Um, and I would say, yeah, I’ve learned most [00:30:00] about Bryce’s and taping from. Just each individual person. Um, cause not one person desires, either not one person wants the same sort of type, not one person wants the same sort of Bryce as everybody else.

[00:30:18] So yet you just sort of have to adapt and overcome. Worst to live by or live by grace. Thanks. Thank you very much for coming on and enlightening us about the truth behind taping. I think a few things now it’s ironic. Cause I’m still, I’m still learning things from youth case every time. No problem at all.

[00:30:44] Anytime

[00:30:57] if you enjoyed this episode of yourself podcast, [00:31:00] make sure to subscribe. So you know, where we drop our next episode. And leave a review if you you’re an Apple podcast or Stitcher. Also, if you have any questions about any of the things we discussed in these episodes, or have a future episode recommendation, something you want us to talk about, feel free to send me a message at @Rookshealth on all social media platforms.

[00:31:20] And if you’re on apple podcasts, you can just leave a comment and I will look at them. So till next week on the resell podcast, [00:32:00]

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