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ASK A PHYSIO: WHAT DOES TAPE DO AND HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

Our Ask A Physio series is a collection of micro blogs aimed at giving a basic understanding to some frequently asked questions. If you have an injury or are experiencing discomfort please book for an assessment, or contact reception for more information.


What does tape do and how long does it last?

There’s lots of different types of tape, ranging from the super rigid brown sports tape through to paper thin and colourful “K-tape”. The common idea is to try to make an area more stable, or at least to give the area a bit more feedback and control. We used to think that tape holds an area in place, but what we know now is that the real effect is with position sense; helping you know where your joints and muscle are sitting.

I’ve seen plenty of physiotherapists advise to leave tape on for a couple of days, but I wouldn’t recommend anything more than 6 hours. If you sweat into the tape then let it dry, it turns into a kind of smelly paper mache, and it will take a few layers of skin off when you try to remove it. If you’re repeatedly taping for more than a few days make sure you wash your skin in between, let it dry thoroughly and check for any irritation.

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