Monday, 15 Apr 2024

Taping Techniques for the Wrist: Rigid Tape and Kinesiology Tape

Taping has long been a trusted method in aiding athletes’ recovery and performance improvement. Traditionally, “taping” referred to a single technique, but now it encompasses multiple modalities. Two commonly used types of taping for treating wrist-related symptoms are rigid tape and kinesiology tape. In this article, we will explore both techniques to help you decide which one suits your needs best.

Wrist Instability Rigid Taping Technique

Rigid tape, known for its sturdy structure and ease of application, has been a go-to method for treating wrist instability. It provides support to ligaments and the wrist joint capsule, restricting movement and offering proprioceptive input. Additionally, rigid tape can function as a temporary substitute, assist in orthotic assessment, and address soft tissue issues in the wrist.

To address ligamentous laxity at the scapholunate interval, the Journal of Hand Therapy suggests the following taping method:

  1. Start by placing the patient’s forearm in supination with the wrist in ulnar deviation, and the digits grasping the thumb to promote scaphoid extension.
  2. Apply a short piece of white tape over the scaphoid tubercle, encircling the radial half of the wrist, ending at the central aspect of the dorsal wrist.
  3. Place a second piece of white tape over the pisiform, wrapping it around the ulnar half of the wrist, slightly overlapping the first piece.
  4. Use rigid tape to anchor the first piece over the white tape, pulling it circumferentially over the radial wrist, and ending at the central aspect of the dorsal wrist.
  5. Apply a second piece of rigid tape along the ulnar aspect of the wrist, covering the pisiform and pulled circumferentially along the ulnar wrist, ending at the central aspect of the dorsal wrist.
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Courtesy of Porretto-Loehrke A 2016.
Courtesy of Porretto-Loehrke A 2016.

Kinesiology Taping Technique for Nerve Disorders of the Wrist

On the other end of the taping spectrum, kinesiology tape has gained popularity as a method for pain relief worldwide. Though the exact mechanism of its effectiveness remains unclear, numerous studies have highlighted its benefits. Kinesiology tape is more flexible, promoting normal tissue expansion, and is used to compress and support soft tissue structures. It has shown particular promise in treating repetitive stress disorders of the wrist.

For those suffering from Wartenberg’s Syndrome, a neuropathy, the authors propose the following kinesiology taping technique:

  1. Start by placing the patient’s forearm in pronation and the thumb in opposition.
  2. Create a diamond cut in the distal end of the elastic tape and pass the index finger through the hole. Lay the remaining tape along the dorsal aspect of the wrist and forearm.
  3. Place the wrist in slight flexion.
  4. Cut a second diamond in the same manner, this time passing the thumb through the hole. Apply the tape along the dorsoradial aspect of the wrist and forearm.

Courtesy of Porretto-Loehrke A 2016.
Courtesy of Porretto-Loehrke A 2016.
Courtesy of Porretto-Loehrke A 2016.

Which taping technique would you employ for other common wrist injuries? Share your clinical opinion in the comments below!

Source: Porretto-Loehrke A 2016. Taping techniques for the wrist. J Hand Ther. 29(2):213-6.

FAQs

Q: How do I determine which taping technique is suitable for a specific wrist injury?
A: While the article highlights specific techniques for wrist instability and nerve disorders, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional or an expert in taping techniques for a comprehensive assessment and personalized advice.

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Q: Are there any potential risks or side effects associated with these taping methods?
A: Like any medical intervention, taping techniques may have individual variations in effectiveness and potential side effects. It is crucial to follow proper application guidelines and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur. Consulting a healthcare professional is recommended.

Conclusion

Taping techniques can be valuable tools in aiding wrist injury recovery and providing support during rehabilitation. Rigid tape offers stability and proprioceptive input, while kinesiology tape promotes soft tissue support and flexibility. Understanding the benefits and proper application of each technique is crucial in achieving optimal outcomes. Whether you’re a healthcare professional or an athlete, consider exploring these taping methods to enhance your wrist’s health and performance. Remember, always consult with a professional for personalized advice.