How do I tape a wrist?

Our wrists are constantly strained in everyday life, our job or sports. Overloads and injuries are not uncommon.
Wrist taping

Wrist taping

A tenosynovitis in the wrist is a frequent problem, which is mostly caused by overstraining the forearm muscles. Characteristic signs are pulling, piercing pains, grinding wrists and swellings. Another disorder is the carpal tunnel syndrome, where the carpal tunnel, which consists of the carpal bones and a ligament, the so-called retinaculum flexorum, is constricted. The nerves that lie there are compressed. Typical symptoms are pains and sensations such as numbness and tingles in the fingers. Apart from such special illnesses, bruises, sprains or even bone fractures of the hand happen in sports and everyday life. One possible therapy can include taping the wrist with kinesiologic tapes or sport tapes.

Which purposes do tape bandages serve?

The tape can be used in different manners when it comes to the mentioned afflictions. When taping conventionally with a nonstretching tape, the primary goal is to create a splint-like stabilisation in the first aid of injuries – for example when wrists are overstretched or sprained. The aim of this taping method is to reduce movements and steady the joint in order to prevent or minimise further harm and strains as much as possible. The tape bandage can also be used pre-emptively to support during strains. This could be necessary if joints are prone to hypermobility, the range of movement is more pronounced than usual and the joint tends to be instable. Especially in competitive sports, the usage has established itself in order to support extremely strained joints. For instance, tapes are often used in combat sports, ball sports, athletics, climbing, strength sports and artistic gymnastics. Kinesiologic tapes are even more versatile – in comparison to inelastic sport tapes, the stabilising effect is lower. They are very stretchable, adjust themselves like a second skin and don't limit mobility. They are very useful for the treatment of minor injuries, slight instabilities and hypermobility of the wrist and also when it comes to symptoms of overload, such as tenosynovitis or the carpal tunnel syndrome. This taping method was developed by the Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in the 70s. He called it Kinesio Taping. The active principle or main idea of kinesiologic taping includes that the tape is supposed to unfold its full impact in combination with movements. From a scientific perspective, the effects of kinesiologic tapes have had no clear results yet – the application is mostly based on the experiences of doctors and therapists. In the treatment of sportsmen and patients, the taping seems to have a soothing, detumescent and function improving effect.

Manners to apply tapes to the wrist

There are several important factors when it comes to taping the wrist correctly. It is possible to tape in various ways, because there are numerous different manners and varieties, which are adjusted to the prevailing symptoms. In order to support the joint because of instability, arthrosis or capsule-ligament-injuries, the ligament technique is recommendable. The tape should be applied with maximum traction. The tape strips are affixed to the wrist in a way that stabilises and relieves the joint and ligaments. During a tenosynovitis, it is useful to tape the wrist in combination with the overloaded forearm muscles in order to relieve and relax them as well. To achieve this, the tape strips have to be affixed in the direction of the affected tendon, for example the thumb tendon, and the corresponding muscle. When there are problems with the carpal tunnel, the techniques for muscles and ligaments are combined as well.

Symptoms in the wrist and fingers can also be connected with dysfunctions in the shoulders and cervical spine. Consequently, treatments with tapes are possible as well. The doctor or therapist should always strive for a complete inspection of the patient and also consider pre-existing illnesses, accompanying complaints and the whole body statics. A close analysis of the causes and affected structures is very important in order to choose the correct taping method, adjust it optimally and reach the best results.

For the optimal impact, it is very important to apply the tape correctly. The knowledge of anatomical structures, their location and course is indispensable for this. That is why the use of kinesiologic taping and sport taping should only be done by experienced and trained experts, such as physiotherapists and doctors. Those examine the patient closely in advance and determine which taping method is necessary for the individual symptoms.