How to correctly tape ankle and ankle joint
These numerous bones form several joint connections, which are bound by robust ligaments. They withstand extreme strains, because our whole body weight is carried by our feet every day.
In everyday life and sports, many people turn their ankles and sprain them – in medical terms, this is called distortion of the upper ankle joint. Typically, injuries often happen while jogging or doing other running sports, football and tennis or even material arts. The jerky movement mostly occurs inwardly and causes hyperextension or even a rupture in the ligaments at the external ankle. In medical science, this injury is called inversion- or supination trauma. In some circumstances, bony structures can also be damaged. The symptoms become obvious quite quickly: The external ankle swells and the ankle joint reacts with pain when the foot is pressured, moved or strained. Possible long-term effects are instability and hypermobility of the upper ankle joint.
Regarding injured ankle joints, the taping method is considered to be a useful intervention measure. It can also have a supporting effect in training. Sport tapes or conventional tapes made of inelastic materials and elastic kinesiologic tapes need to be distinguished. Both kinds have different purposes.
The concept of kinesio-taping is based on the Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase. The tapes contribute to the relief of pain and swellings and improve the deep sensibility (proprioception), which plays an important role when it comes to the ideal regulation of muscle tension and joint function. It also makes secure movement sequences possible, which, in turn, minimises the injury risk. In addition, kinesiology tape can be used supportively in order to strengthen a slightly instable ankle joint.
The effects can unfold, because the tape triggers a stimulus, which activates receptors on the skin and in deeper structures. Movements increase this stimulus that is directed via the nerve system towards the brain, where control processes regulate procedures such as the muscle tension. Thanks to these stimulations of mechanical receptors within the skin, the tape's soothing characteristics becomes possible.
Stabilising the ankle joint by taping it
In order to reach the best possible stabilisation of the ankle joint, for example after a severe distortion injury, sport tapes are a recommendable choice. They are used for different purposes than kinesiologic tapes and are useful to steady and limit the movements. The structures need to be protected. The tapes are applied in the course of the ligaments to support them after the hyperextension and to stabilise the joint. The inelastic materials limit the mobility of the ankle joint. The effect of this immobilisation is desirable in the acute phase and is supposed to minimise the risk of further complications or additional injuries. Kinesiologic tapes are the better choice when it comes to older injuries and remaining instability. It stabilises the ankle joint enough, but enables full mobility at the same time. Trained experts should decide which tape needs to be used and how it needs to be applied. In a special advanced training for kinesiologic taping, specialists from medicine and therapy – for example physio- or sport therapists, trainers with additional qualifications or sport physicians – study the knowledge about indications and manners to apply the tapes.
General information about taping
Before applying the tapes, the skin should be cleaned, dried and in cases of extensive body hair, it should also be shaved in the relevant areas in order to improve the tapes' grip. The tape strips have to be measured and cut to the required length. The strips' edges should be rounded with the scissors to prevent them from peeling off prematurely. After applying the tape, it should be rubbed, because the emerging warmth activates the glue.
For a short period of time, slight itching is possible. If this lasts longer or if any other skin irritations occur, the tape needs to be removed. After taking a shower or bath, the tape should only be dabbed until it is dry. Thus, the durability can amount to one week. Feet, however, are extremely strained parts of the body and produce more sweat. This is the reason why the tape's grip might cease quicker here in comparison with other parts.