T Nation

Ankle Taping

Any info in this? I know the taping technique. but is it a a good idea during training?

Here are the factors i have been considering.

  1. The sport is basketball
  2. the season is approaching
  3. I wish to keep some key players healthy
  4. Is taping ankles during training a good idea? Or just during games?
  5. Do people need some time to get used to running with tape on?
  6. Does using tape become a crutch like people who always use a belt when lifting?

thanks!

regds
Jonathan

I too am very interested in any asnwers.

Thanks.

intresting topic. i just recently started using tape/ace bandages to wrap my ankle after i sprained my ankle a couple weeks ago playing basketball. it does take some time to adjust to it but shouldnt take long. it does restrict some movement so ur quicker gaurds may see a lose in explosivness. the main goal when using tape is too prevent injurys so you dont wanna overdo it. use it more on the guys who have had ankle injurys in the past and guys who take a lot of contact and attack the rim wrecklessly (ala Dwayne Wade).

i found that taping does wonders when it comes to preventing blisters, and will help them heal faster when u tape those areas because it redueces further irritation.

Interesting topic… There has been alot of controversy as whether or not to tape as a measure of a preventative to an ankle injury… There has been some info I have read that it may put more stress on the knees than usual since the ankles aren’t taking the normal amount of force and the knees make up for it. I may be phrasing that wrong, please correct me if I am.

If an athlete has chronic weak ankles or a pathology of ankle injuries, than it may be a good idea. But if it were me, I would let it be and not tape if nothing is wrong. Like one of the above posts, it may become a crutch like a weight belt.

Just my opinion… Further input would be great on this topic from anyone that knows about this kind of thing.

The most important person to consult in this situation is a certified athletic trainer.

These are the guys/gals that have put in many hours of experience and knowledge to directly work with you on questions like these.

I don’t mean to discredit any answers here but, as an AT Student, I think your best choice is to get a one-on-one for this stuff. Especially if you are going to be considering such things directly involving your performance in a sport.

If you don’t have access to an ATC just keep the thread bumped and I’ll be more then happy to answer your question on Thursday… after finals!

[quote]TriGWU wrote:
The most important person to consult in this situation is a certified athletic trainer.

These are the guys/gals that have put in many hours of experience and knowledge to directly work with you on questions like these.

I don’t mean to discredit any answers here but, as an AT Student, I think your best choice is to get a one-on-one for this stuff. Especially if you are going to be considering such things directly involving your performance in a sport.

If you don’t have access to an ATC just keep the thread bumped and I’ll be more then happy to answer your question on Thursday… after finals![/quote]

I agree with TriGWU. I’m also a AT student(one more year left!!) and would say it is best to get a one-on-one if available.

But my opinion, based on what i’ve been told, is that by relying on taping to “protect” the ankle, you can actually weaken the supporting musculature, decrease the proprioception in the ankle, and increase it’s chances of becoming injuried. I think the best thing to do would be to increase your players balance and proprioception.

Several exercises to increase the proprioception and balance include: Single leg stands on a soft surface and chest and bounce pass a ball back and forth to different angles. Walking on a balance beam can help. Mark off 4 boxes w/ 1-4 in each and then call out a # between 1-4 and have the player hop on one foot to each box.

Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps.

[quote]LevelHeaded wrote:
TriGWU wrote:
The most important person to consult in this situation is a certified athletic trainer.

These are the guys/gals that have put in many hours of experience and knowledge to directly work with you on questions like these.

I don’t mean to discredit any answers here but, as an AT Student, I think your best choice is to get a one-on-one for this stuff. Especially if you are going to be considering such things directly involving your performance in a sport.

If you don’t have access to an ATC just keep the thread bumped and I’ll be more then happy to answer your question on Thursday… after finals!

I agree with TriGWU. I’m also a AT student(one more year left!!) and would say it is best to get a one-on-one if available.

But my opinion, based on what i’ve been told, is that by relying on taping to “protect” the ankle, you can actually weaken the supporting musculature, decrease the proprioception in the ankle, and increase it’s chances of becoming injuried. I think the best thing to do would be to increase your players balance and proprioception.

Several exercises to increase the proprioception and balance include: Single leg stands on a soft surface and chest and bounce pass a ball back and forth to different angles. Walking on a balance beam can help. Mark off 4 boxes w/ 1-4 in each and then call out a # between 1-4 and have the player hop on one foot to each box.

Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps.[/quote]

Props to the AT Students!

[quote]LevelHeaded wrote:
TriGWU wrote:
The most important person to consult in this situation is a certified athletic trainer.

These are the guys/gals that have put in many hours of experience and knowledge to directly work with you on questions like these.

I don’t mean to discredit any answers here but, as an AT Student, I think your best choice is to get a one-on-one for this stuff. Especially if you are going to be considering such things directly involving your performance in a sport.

If you don’t have access to an ATC just keep the thread bumped and I’ll be more then happy to answer your question on Thursday… after finals!

I agree with TriGWU. I’m also a AT student(one more year left!!) and would say it is best to get a one-on-one if available.

But my opinion, based on what i’ve been told, is that by relying on taping to “protect” the ankle, you can actually weaken the supporting musculature, decrease the proprioception in the ankle, and increase it’s chances of becoming injuried. I think the best thing to do would be to increase your players balance and proprioception.

Several exercises to increase the proprioception and balance include: Single leg stands on a soft surface and chest and bounce pass a ball back and forth to different angles. Walking on a balance beam can help. Mark off 4 boxes w/ 1-4 in each and then call out a # between 1-4 and have the player hop on one foot to each box.

Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps.[/quote]

Im all for proprioception/balance and i do single leg, agility and barefoot work with the team. We have so far had few injuries, 1 this whole 4 months of training. Taping is just insurance a month before season cos some of the guys are irreplaceable.

Cap’n,
By training, do you mean basketball practice or do you mean weight training?
It is my opinion that it is counterproductive to tape during weight training or plyometric exercises, etc. You want the body(muscles and joints) to grow stronger as a result of these activities and the tape can interfere with that. In a full on practice session though, I would say tape players who normally wear tape in the game. I don’t think it’s necessary as a preventative measure unless the athlete has had past issues.

I’m no trainer, but this has been my experience as an athlete.

oh i mean bbal practice. naturally PT sessions will be tape free:)

At the university I teach at and did my undergrad and graduate work in sports medicine/athletic training, the philosophy varied from ATC to ATC on whether you should tape all players ankles.

I personally believe that taping the ankle or wearing a brace, as stated in an earlier post, should be used with athletes with a history of ankle injuries. It can help prevent ankle injuries as well as lessen the severity of ankle sprains. Athletes who do not have a history of ankle sprains have a choice whether the get their ankles taped or not, but after the first ankle injury, they are taped or braced for the rest of the season.

Also, I think it is a good idea to treat practices the same as games, so if they get taped for one, they get taped for them all.
There are also varied opinions on whether or not braces better protect against ankle sprains. Some studies have shown that the tape on an ankle loosens and loses some of its support after just 12-20 minutes, depending on activity.

Braces on the other hand tend to not loosen to the same degree. The plus with braces is that if they do loosen up, all you have to do is tighten the laces or straps, where as with tape, you might get away with putting on a couple extra heel locks and stirrups and be good, but considering how often you would have to do it, by the end of practice or game it would be more like a cast than an ankle taping. That is why I prefer to use braces on my basketball players, ONLY IF the braces fit the athlete correctly. If the brace does not fit, then you are better off with the tape.

There is a lot of contradictory research out there on how ankle taping should be utilized. Some studies show that it decrease untaped proprioception of the athlete, while there are studies that show athletes with taped ankles receive less ankle injuries while taped than athletes without tape.

Below are some studies found on pubmed. There are 112 studies if you type in ankle taping.
Here is an abstract of a study talking about taping athletes with a history of ankle injuries and athletes without a history of ankle injuries on a cost-to-benefit analysis. The entire study can be found for free on pubmed.

Prophylactic Ankle Taping and Bracing: A Numbers-Needed-to-Treat and Cost-Benefit Analysis.

Olmsted LC, Vela LI, Denegar CR, Hertel J.

The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

OBJECTIVE: Taping and bracing are thought to decrease the incidence of ankle sprains; however, few investigators have addressed the effect of preventive measures on the rate of ankle sprains. Our purpose was to examine the effectiveness of ankle taping and bracing in reducing ankle sprains by applying a numbers-needed-to-treat (NNT) analysis to previously published studies. DATA SOURCES: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, SPORT Discus, and PEDro for original research from 1966 to 2002 with key words ankle taping, ankle sprains, injury incidence, prevention, ankle bracing, ankle prophylaxis, andnumbers needed to treat. We eliminated articles that did not address the effects of ankle taping or bracing on ankle injury rates using an experimental design. DATA SYNTHESIS: The search produced 8 articles, of which 3 permitted calculation of NNT, which addresses the clinical usefulness of an intervention by providing estimates of the number of treatments needed to prevent 1 injury occurrence. In a study of collegiate intramural basketball players, the prevention of 1 ankle sprain required the taping of 26 athletes with a history of ankle sprain and 143 without a prior history. In a military academy intramural basketball program, prevention of 1 sprain required bracing of 18 athletes with a history of ankle sprain and 39 athletes with no history. A study of ankle bracing in competitive soccer players produced an NNT of 5 athletes with a history of previous sprain and 57 without a prior injury. A cost- benefit analysis of ankle taping versus bracing revealed taping to be approximately 3 times more expensive than bracing. CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS: Greater benefit is achieved in applying prophylactic ankle taping or bracing to athletes with a history of ankle sprain, compared with those without previous sprains. The generalizability of these results to other physically active populations is unknown.

Here is another related study:

Effectiveness of taping and bracing in balance.

Barkoukis V, Sykaras E, Costa F, Tsorbatzoudis H.

Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Taping and bracing are thought to be effective methods in restricting the ankle’s joint motion and assisting prevention of injuries. Research evidence suggests that taping and bracing enhance both the mechanical support and the proprioception of the ankle. However, there is little research concerning the influence of taping and bracing on sport performance. Research has mainly examined tasks with demands on the frontal plane. Therefore, the present study examined the effect of taping and bracing on the performance of a task with demands on the frontal plane. A sample of 30 physical education students (Mage=21.9 yr.) performed a balance task requiring estimation of balance and both right and left deviations. The subjects performed the balance task on four different conditions, with tape, with Swede-O (a lace-up, boot style stabilizer), with Aircast (an inflatable cast), and without any stabilizer. There were no significant differences among the conditions. These findings indicate that taping and bracing do not have negative effects on balance in the frontal plane. This study created concerns regarding the appropriate stabilizer for different tasks, bilateral coordination after the application of a stabilizer, and the influence of psychological factors on prevention of injury.

One more thing, if an athlete has reoccurring ankle sprains, the problem isn’t always only at the ankle. Taping the ankle will not correct the problem if this is the case.

If they come down on someone else’s foot, that’s one thing, but if they sprain their ankle while performing a cut or change of direction on a flat surface, you must look at the whole kinetic chain. Everything, especially from the hip down, must be taken into concideration to rule out any lack of contribution from another muscle, or overpowering from another muscle, which can put more stress somewhere in the kinetic chain, in this case the ankle. You have to train the chain.

ckeller14 did an outstanding job summarizing the benefits or drawbacks of taping / bracing an athlete’s ankle. Great research too.

I am also an ATC and my opinion is - if an athlete has a history of ankle problems a full body / kinetich chain assessment must be performed by someone who is qualified - ATC / PT to rule out other muscle weakness or tightness that could be a contibuting factor to these types of injuries. Or in the case of chronic ankle injury - muscle weakness and tightness can be a result of altered muscle recruitment or gait pattern.

If a kinetic chain assessment is clean - meaning there are no other areas of muscle weakness or tightness or joint restriction, etc. then the athlete with a history of ankle injuries should be braced or taped with bracing being my preference unless the tape is being applied by a skilled professional. Check out the ASO ankle brace - by far the best IMO. Brace should be fitted correctly - some go by shoe size others go by a circumferential measurement around the heal and ankle.

I also beleive that those athletes with a history of ankle injuries benefit from regular rehabilitation focusing on single leg balance both on stable and unstable surfaces (remember this is rehab, single leg squats and lunges and also single leg jumping activities. A quick program could be performed before practice 3-5 times per week in about 15 minutes.

All that being said - the initial post refernced a team situation with some irreplaceable players who have minimal history of injury. All the strength, balance, agility in the world is not going to prevent the injury when a guy lands on someone’s foot - IMO bracing is the best option for a team without an ATC applying the tape to help prevent and minimize some of those unavoidable ankle injuries (i.e. landing on a foot. And like was pereviously mentioned, do it everytime you step on the court for practice games. Do not brace / tape for “controlled” activites like strength sessions or agility and conditioning sessions.

I have reccurring sprains on both ankles, so not even good shoes will help.
I’m not going to tape myself before every activity, so I use braces.

Now, in order for me to be braced up and still be mobile, I use low-top bball shoes.
Good braces don’t requite hi-tops. Lo-tops are obviously better in performance.

So that’s what I do…any thoughts?

[quote]Gastrocnemius wrote:
Check out the ASO ankle brace - by far the best IMO.
[/quote]

That is the brace I recommend to my athletes and the one that I use personally.

[quote]adifoyle wrote:
I have reccurring sprains on both ankles, so not even good shoes will help.
I’m not going to tape myself before every activity, so I use braces.

Now, in order for me to be braced up and still be mobile, I use low-top bball shoes.
Good braces don’t requite hi-tops. Lo-tops are obviously better in performance.

So that’s what I do…any thoughts?[/quote]

The effect of tape, braces and shoes on ankle range of motion.

Verhagen EA, van der Beek AJ, van Mechelen W.

Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine and Department of Social Medicine, VU Medical Centre, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Sport injuries are unwanted adverse effects accompanying participation in sports. In a wide variety of sports the most common location of injury is the ankle, frequently resulting from a forced plantar flexed inversion of the foot exceeding the physiological range of motion (ROM). Historically the purpose of external support systems is to prevent acute ankle injuries by restricting abnormal ankle ROM. It is believed that a superior restrictive effect also implies a superior preventive effect. The purpose of this review was to examine the literature regarding the restricting effect of adhesive taping, prophylactic ankle stabilisers (PAS) and high-top shoes on ankle ROM.

It has been found that tape restricts ankle eversion and inversion ROM significantly following application. However, tape loosens significantly following standardised exercise and sports activities. Studies regarding PAS reported that both semi-rigid and nonrigid stabilisers give a significant post-application restriction of ankle inversion motion. The nonrigid stabilisers show loosening over time during exercise, while the semi-rigid stabilisers maintain their restrictive effect over the same time span. High-top shoes in comparison to low-top shoes are more effective in restricting mechanically imposed ankle inversion ROM. Low-top shoes, however, also limit mechanically imposed ankle inversion stress with the ankle in the position in which ankle injury occurs most frequently.

One must keep in mind, however, that a superior mechanical restriction of ankle ROM does not necessarily imply a superior preventive effect. Only well-controlled randomised studies can show such an effect, and these studies have shown a reduction of ankle injury incidence for all 3 prophylactic measures reviewed.

I work with D1 basketaball and all the athletes must be taped and/or braced for every practice or game, as per the coaches and athletic trainer.

IMHO, taping is a joke. In my experience, after vigorous exercise, due to the sweating, the tape is rendered practically useless by 20 minutes. When practice is 3 hours long, this doesn’t make any sense.

I agree that off season plyo/proprioception training should be done with out tape/bracing, due to the fact that the tape/bracing will cause weakness. In the past, we have used an in-season program of ankle exercises after practice without the tape/braces to keep the ankle strong. In the off-season, all lifting is done without tape/bracing and we do a ton of single leg movements (lunges, step ups, step downs, bulgarian squats, etc.) that help with our overall ankle stability.

That is just what we do here.

[quote]ckeller14 wrote:
Gastrocnemius wrote:
Check out the ASO ankle brace - by far the best IMO.

That is the brace I recommend to my athletes and the one that I use personally.[/quote]

Yeah that’s what I use too. But after I bought it my doc told me I should buy this one --> http://www.anklebrace.info/aircast/airsport_ankle_brace.htm

Now, I know the ASO is very popular nowadays, even Dwayne Wade wears it…Still, anyone familiar with the Aircast-Airsport thing that my doctor told me to get?

JSmith - That is exactly what I wanted to say (I wanted to be a bit more subtle as an ATC myself) and as an ATC, I wish other ATC would be more firm in the belief that “tape is a joke” - especially after about 20 minutes of sweating. I think that too many of us have to try to prove our worth by taping. When we should be doing what is best for the athlete, rehab / prehab and bracing when necessary.

Which brings me to another dilemma that I have been struggling with recently - What to do when a coach wants everyone (regardless of injury history) in a brace / tape?.

I have discussed this with some biomechanics experts who believe that restricting the foot and ankle could have detrimental effects at the knee and on up the kinetic chain - any one else have thought on this?

What to do when a coach wants everyone taped?..Tape them.

You aren’t going to change a coach’s mind about this (at least not 99% of them), and besides, if the coach says OK to you, and a kid turns an ankle and is out for a month, it’s your ass.

I think the most valuable lesson any strength coach or ATC can learn is that at the end of the day, YOU ARE SUPPORT STAFF. Know your role! Accept the fact that you will rarely have the final say about everything. Sacrifice your own agenda. Half of my job is compensating for what the coaches do to the athletes.

I can’t tell you how many times I have torn up my program for the day, based on what has happened at practice that day. Remember, you are there to serve the best interest of the athletes, as well as meeting the demands of the coaches (no matter how much you may hate it sometimes).

Perspective is a beautiful thing. Is it the best idea to tape everyone all the time? Probably not, but it’s not the end of the world either. Choose your battles wisely if you want to last in college athletics.