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April 16, 2023

If you’re a new fan of the rugby game, you may wonder why some players strap tapes on their thighs, wrists, knees, and joints while on the field. So what is the reason for all the tapes? 

It serves as a grip for other team players, so they can lift their lineout jumper higher. It also helps players sprint and jump faster, thus improving their overall athletic performance. Lastly, it provides support for body areas vulnerable to injuries, such as the joints and thighs.

While rugby players share the same reasons for using  athletic tapes, the types and brands they use, however, differ. In this post, let’s come to know three of the most popularly used tapes in rugby.

3 Popular Tapes Rugby Players Use

Certain sports tapes are particularly flexible and stretchy, allowing the wearer to move freely. Others, on the other hand, are stiffer since they are composed of inelastic fabrics, and while they provide full protection, they can restrict the wearer's movement throughout the game.

If you’re still unsure which type of tape to use for your next rugby game, here are the three types of tapes worth considering:

1. Kinesiology Tape

True to the definition of kinesiology, which means “the study of human movements and mechanics,” physical therapists originally used this type of tape to support the treatment of various sports injuries. Also known as K-tape, It was originally developed to improve athletic performance.

It's an incredibly flexible tape that players can wear for up to a week after application, aiding in an active recovery without restricting the player's range of movements.

Specific Uses:

  • To treat strains and sprains and other muscle and joint ailments as a result of sports activities.
  • To reduce swelling and inflammation of muscles and joints.
  • It aids in the healing process after an acute or chronic injury.
  • To lessen physical discomfort by targeting affected areas with sensory stimulation.
  • Because it gently lifts the skin, this tape provides extra space for swollen muscles.
  • It can be a protective barrier to keeping you safe, especially when playing extreme sports.

Key Features

  • Designed to be stretchy, thereby providing support without restricting movement
  • K tape  is hypoallergenic, meaning it is less likely to cause allergic reactions or skin irritation.
  • Available in different patterns and colors like flesh-colored, red, and blue, allowing users to easily differentiate which one to use for specific body areas.
  • It is breathable, which means that air and moisture can pass through the tape and into the skin, boosting comfort and lowering the chance of skin irritation.

When Not to Use Kinesiology Tape

There are certain situations when kinesiology tape is not suitable for use, and these include:

  • Fragile skin, or that skin type prone to tearing
  • Allergies, as it may trigger a strong reaction
  • Open wounds as the tape may cause infection 
  • Diabetes because reduced sensations in some areas make it unlikely for you to detect a reaction to your tape.
  • Active cancer, for its growth, can be accelerated by an increased blood supply.

2. Zinc Oxide Tape

Another popular tape that is not only well-stocked in first aid kits but is also used by sports physiotherapists and rugby players is the zinc oxide tape. The adhesive in this tape is zinc oxide, hence the name. 

This non-stretch cotton tape is extremely durable and offers maximum support for joints that need to be immobilized. Because of its optimum strength, Zinc Oxide Tape is the first choice not only for rugby players but also for boxers, cross-fitters, climbers, and wrestlers. 

Specific Uses

  • To help reduce pain symptoms and treat patients' injury itself.
  • Functions as a preventive measure before the possibility of injury to protect joints and muscles from harm caused by overextension.
  • Used in wound care because its breathability promotes air circulation and speeds healing.
  • It's long-lasting adhesive and natural antibacterial characteristics make it particularly useful for protecting blisters from rubbing and scratching while also speeding up their healing.

Key Features

  • It is skin-friendly and stays in place firmly for longer periods.
  • It is non-elastic and more rigid, so it is better suited to support joints or limit movements more effectively.
  • It's water-resistant, making it excellent for sports where the tape may be exposed to sweat and moisture.
  • Can be easily torn by hand
  • Easy to apply and extremely comfortable on the skin
  • Available in 4 and 5-cm sizes for hands, wrists, ankles, and larger joints, and 1.25-cm and 2.5-cm sizes for fingers and thumbs.

Precautions When Using Zinc Oxide Tape

  • Only apply to a skin area that’s dry and clean.
  • To avoid irritation or scorching, the tape should be smooth and wrinkle-free.
  • A protection layer will be needed if the area is not shaved.
  • If your skin turns pale or bluish or has reduced sensation as you rub the area, you must instantly remove the tape.
  • Remove tape from the skin gently in the direction of hair growth.

3. Elastic Adhesive Bandage

Stretch tapes, often known as elastic adhesive tapes, are typically made of twisted cotton and have an adhesive backing. They come in tan or white colors and are available in heavyweight and lightweight designs. Unlike cohesive bandages, these tapes can stick directly to the skin or other surfaces.

Specific Uses

  • Suitable for treating soft injury tissues like muscle sprains, bruising, swollen limbs, and sprained ankles and wrists.
  • It reduces swelling and alleviates pain following a joint or muscle injury.
  • Relieves smooth muscular tension while aiding in the control of acute inflammation in a specific area.

Key Features

  • The heavyweight provides superior tensile strength and support after application, while the lightweight one provides less obstruction to movements.
  • Its elastic design makes adjusting to highly contoured body areas easier without reducing compression or support.
  • Because of its superior adhesive, this is the most popular tape used on lifting blocks during rugby, allowing players to be lifted during play without slipping.

Contraindications to Using Elastic Adhesive Tape

  • People with thrombosis 
  • Compromised circulation
  • Allergy to taping materials
  • Irritation, open wounds, or skin infection of the area to be taped
  • Pre-existing skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and the likes

Wrapping Up

Again, choosing the right tape is crucial for rugby players to protect their bodies from injuries and perform their best on the field. What tape they wear will depend on the level of support they need and personal preference, too. 

We hope you find this article insightful. And, if you’re looking for the best tapes for your next game, feel free to visit our  shop page.