How Do Athletes Use Finger Taping?

Finger Taping

They are hard to miss: bright-looking tapes on athletes’ fingers while they play. Whether you are watching them live or not, you would have spotted tapes on athletes’ fingers. From basketball to volleyball, athletes tape their fingers for different reasons. Finger taping has been in practice for several decades. However, it was not so much of a trend until 2012. At the London 2012 World Cup, several participating athletes taped different parts of their bodies. Since then, finger taping in particular has become an accepted trend. The use of  Finger Wrap Tape is not all about fashion. It goes way beyond adorning the fingers with flashy strips of tape. Before you can make sense of how athletes use finger taping, you need to understand why they use it. 

Uses of Finger Taping

Finger taping is used by martial arts, climbing, and grappling sports athletes. They use it to improve their grip strength and prevent injured fingers from moving too laterally during performance. This is because players in sports that involve catching balls, such as basketball, are prone to spraining their fingers. 

Taping helps prevent this through a couple of taping methods. Medically, taping is also used to immobilize injured fingers. The extra padding prevents injured fingers from their normal range of motion, and this helps the injury heal faster. Other uses of finger taping include:

● Injury Prevention

Other than using the method to help injuries heal faster, many athletes use Best Sports Tape for Fingers to avoid getting injured on their fingers. By giving a sort of added layer of protection, finger taping can effectively prevent common injuries like dislocations and sprains.

In football, players are vulnerable to these injuries just by nature of the sport. Falling is a common occurrence that footballers cannot avoid. While this may be harmless, it may cause serious injury to players when the fingers are the first to touch the ground. But when the fingers are taped, they are less likely to get badly injured since they have an extra layer of protection.

In basketball also, it is pretty easy to get the fingers injured. While struggling for the ball, their fingers can get dislocated or sprained. 

Taping also helps players keep their fingers in ideal positions. Players are prevented from moving their fingers at an awkward angle when the fingers are taped. The feeling of the tape on their fingers makes them more conscious of their fingers, where they tend to move them dangerously.

● Better Adhesive Friction

Many athletes are not so comfortable with wearing gloves. They do not like the feel of the gloves on their hand, which seems like an impediment. Albeit, they have to wear gloves as they aid their adhesive traction. When it comes to catching a ball, the odds of failing are higher with bare hands. This makes wearing gloves a necessary discomfort for these athletes.

Since using finger taping in sports has become widespread, it has also become common to use them instead of gloves. It can give athletes better adhesive friction. Athletes now use finger taping instead of bare hands or uncomfortable gloves. However, some athletes use finger tapes beneath or over their gloves for extra adhesive friction.

● Stronger Grip

 Just as many athletes prefer finger taping to wearing gloves, it has also been claimed to give a better grip. According to these athletes, their hands slide less when their fingers are taped. 

However, some research studies have revealed that this may just be an effect that is psychologically perceived. According to these studies, athletes only believe it gives them a firmer grip because they think it has such effects. They only see what they expect to see. These studies claim that finger taping does not give athletes a better grip.

Despite these studies, athletes still use finger taping for a firmer grip. Since they get the desired results, there is no reason not to use finger taping, regardless of what causes the results.

● Swelling Reduction 

Finger taping can also reduce swelling in the fingers. Sometimes, due to too much pressure, an athlete’s fingers may swell up in one or two places. In situations like these, finger taping can be very effective.

When a swollen finger is strategically taped, the swelling will gradually reduce. This works because the tape reduces the secretion of fluids around the swelling. When the fluids are circulated, the swelling is reduced.

● Quicker Recovery

Apart from preventing the fingers from getting injured, finger taping also helps athletes recover more quickly after sustaining an injury. Finger sprains, dislocations, and strains can be very painful for players. The most painful part of being injured is the inability to perform after practicing so much. The idea of finger taping was an effective solution to this almost inevitable problem. 

When an athlete sustains a finger injury, finger taping is commonly recommended to them, especially when the injury is not too severe. This helps them perform without worrying about the injured finger.

There are different methods of taping that can help athletes recover after a finger injury. These methods, which will be discussed in this article, help athletes recover from finger injuries faster. 

You’re probably wondering how few strips of tape can heal a finger sprain or dislocation. The mechanism is quite simple. Finger taping limits the movement of the injured finger. 

The most common method of finger taping for injured athletes is buddy taping. Buddy taping makes the injured finger unable to be moved independently, protecting it from being moved wrongly. When the injured finger is prevented from moving awkwardly, it gets to heal faster. 

While it does not exactly heal the injured finger, it facilitates the healing process by maintaining a natural finger position.

Methods of finger taping for athletes

For different purposes, athletes can use finger taping in more than one way. The different ways athletes use finger taping are explained below.

● X-taping

X-taping is used mainly by martial arts and combat sports athletes, usually in climbing. It helps them prevent excessive force on their finger joints when gripping and grappling. This method is usually done with stronger tapes that can be gotten from established companies like Hampton Adams. 

For martial artists, this method is extremely important as the art involves grappling unto a mat. Taping would prevent the fingers from being forced into rotation when trapped against the floor. This increases the athlete’s grip strength by transferring the strength away from their fingers to their wrist and hands. 

The X-taping method involves a long strip of tape of about 1.25cm wrapped one to two times around the finger, directly beneath the knuckle. The tape is then brought to an angle over the front knuckle to create a line that is one-half of the X shape to be formed. The remaining length of the tape is then brought back to the beginning to cross off the first line and form the other half of the rest before wrapping around the finger to lock off the tape completely.

● Buddy taping

As the name implies, Buddy taping involves taping one finger to another. This method of finger taping is primarily used when a finger is already injured. It is common among football players, basketball players, cyclists, and volleyball players. This is because these athletes commonly get finger injuries. 

One of the fingers is usually the injured one, with the finger it is being taped to acting as a support to prevent the injured finger from moving laterally; thereby, the likelihood of sprains and breaks from a case of “jammed fingers” is reduced. This is done with two strips of tape about the same length as the finger. 

The taping starts from the bottom of the “good” finger before wrapping around the injured one, therefore, splinting them together. A second point of splinting is achieved by wrapping at the top of the fingers too.

Medically, buddy taping is also widely used but it is referred to as bandaging. It is used to treat injured fingers and toes. It can be used for minor injuries like sprains or strains and it should not be used when there are obvious deformities from an injury like a finger or toe bent at an awkward angle.

Regardless of the method of finger taping employed, there are a few important things to know:

  1. Never make finger taping too tight as it may become a disturbance to blood flow. 
  2. When the injury is severe or unbearably painful, it’s best to talk with an experienced physical therapist.
  3. Make sure you buy your tape from a credible company like Hampton Adams, as some varieties are produced with unhygienic chemicals that may harm your skin.

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