Athletic TapesAthletic tape, sometimes called sporting tape or sports tape, can help support the body during physical activity, aid in rehabilitating injuries, and help prevent new injuries from occurring. Professional and amateur athletes may find it supportive for use on joints, muscles, and other body areas strained during exercise or day-to-day activities.
The best athletic tape for you should be easy to use, comfortable, allow for an appropriate range of motion for your activities, and offer noticeable support. Here are some things to look for when shopping for athletic tape.
Width and SizeAthletic tapes come in a range of sizes. You can purchase wide or narrow rolls of tape or even pre-cut strips. The best size of athletic tape will depend on the part of the body you're applying it to and how much support you need. Your healthcare provider or trainer may offer individualized guidance.
Body Specific ChoicesSome sports tapes are specifically for use on the arms, legs, knees, or other body parts. This can help take away some of the guesswork when choosing a product. Athletic tape for fingers, for instance, is likely going to be thinner and allow for greater dexterity than athletic tape used to support major muscles in the leg.
ColorAthletic and kinesiology tapes are available in a rainbow of color choices, from neutrals to neons. As a result, it's not uncommon to see athletes coordinating their sports tape with their team colors. While this is just a matter of preference, it can add an element of fun and personality.
StickinessIf you need an athletic tape to last for several hours, look for one that will stick well, especially if you become sweaty, which can cause some less-adhesive tapes to slip a little. Some people may prefer an athletic tape that isn't too sticky to remove it more easily.
Water ResistanceIf you're involved in a sport that exposes you to sweat or rain, water resistance can be an important factor. The stakes are even higher if you swim or take part in activities such as triathlons.
BreathabilitySome tapes allow the skin to "breathe" a little more easily than others do. This can be important if you need to wear the athletic tape for long stretches, have sensitive skin, or look for a product that allows moisture to get through.
Latex vs. Non-LatexMany sports tapes include latex, which helps make them stretch. If you are allergic, pay special attention to package labeling or product descriptions, so you can choose an athletic tape that is latex-free. In addition, there are non-latex and hypoallergenic tapes available.
Athletic tape has many uses in helping support tissues, improve blood flow, and prevent injuries. Choosing the right type of athletic tape for your situation and preferences is key.