The Type of Tape Athletic Trainers Use

Written by michelle zehr
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The Type of Tape Athletic Trainers Use
Athletic tape an help prevent re-injury. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Athletic trainers are an integral part of the training staff of a sports team. Athletic trainers work with sports medicine physicians to prevent and treat athlete injuries and return injured athletes to the game. As part of their tools of the trade, athletic trainers commonly use a variety of athletic tapes to help stabilise muscles and joints -- including knees, ankles, wrists and the lower legs.


Underwrap is a soft foam material that is commonly used underneath a variety of other athletic tapes. Underwrap provides a soft layer of protection without sticking to the skin. Athletes who choose not to shave the affected area of their body prior to taping will often use an underwrap. Underwrap decreases the pain of ripping regular athletic tape from the skin.

Zinc Oxide Tape

Zinc oxide tape is a white-coloured, non-elastic, sticky material that is commonly used by athletic trainers to restrict a joint's range of motion. It can also help to protect the skin from blisters or chafing. Zinc oxide tape gets its name from the adhesive glue on the tape, which contains zinc oxide. Zinc oxide tape comes in a variety of widths and tears very easily.

Elastic Adhesive Bandage

Elastic adhesive bandages -- or EAB -- are elastic bandages with an adhesive material that will stick directly to the skin. The bandages commonly come in a width of 2 to 3 inches. This is a tough, durable material that needs to be cut with tape cutters or scissors. EAB typically is used to tape muscles because EAB will expand with a muscle as it is used during athletic performance or exercise. EAB also can be used with zinc oxide tape to help restrict the motion of a joint.

Cohesive Bandage

Cohesive bandages come in a number of different colours and tear very easily -- you can tear this material with just your fingers. Cohesive bandages are sticky but will not stick to your skin. The material is designed to stick only to itself. This bandage often is used as a light joint wrap, as a cover for other athletic tapes or to compress an injured joint or muscle.

Kinesio Tape

Kinesio tape is an adhesive form of athletic tape. It can be used to provide stability and support to any joint or muscle in the body. Kinesio tape does not affect your range of motion or the circulation of your blood. It is used by athletic trainers as a preventive measure, to treat swelling and to help treat the pain of various muscle and joint injuries. It also can help to reduce inflammation. Kinesio tape comes in a variety of different colours and widths.

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