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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 is the difference between strapping and bracing?

Strapping and bracing both set out to achieve similar things, making a joint or area more stable after an injury.

Strapping is an inexpensive, quick and easy way to support a joint. It is generally not too bulky and doesn’t restrict movement too much, which is why you’ll be familiar with strapping if you’ve ever played or watched competitive sport. The main downside with strapping is that it's temporary, you really shouldn’t leave it on for more than 6 hours. It can be really tough on your skin if you let it get wet/sweaty and leave it on for too long. Also, recent research has shown that strapping might not actually make a joint much more stable, more that it compresses things and makes you feel more stable.

Bracing is generally a lot more substantial, and can be quite expensive if you’re after a properly fitted custom unit. You can leave bracing on basically forever, and a good brace can be used every day without wearing out. Unlike strapping, bracing is pretty bulky, and can most definitely make a joint more stable. We often turn to a brace when people have an issue which will stay with them for a long time. A poorly fitted or incorrect brace can make your issue worse, so it’s a good idea to check in with a physiotherapist before you invest.

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