The following finger taping techniques are designed to support the finger and reduce stress on the finger during activity. They can be used for both the treatment and prevention of finger injuries.
You should discuss the suitability of these finger taping techniques with your physiotherapist prior to using them. Generally, they should only be applied provided they are comfortable and do not cause an increase in pain, discolouration, pins and needles, numbness, swelling, itchiness or excessive redness of the hand, wrist, fingers or thumb.
What sort of tape should be used to tape my finger?
There are many different tapes and bandages available for use by physiotherapists and patients. However, when the purpose is to restrict undesired motion, adhesive, non-stretch (rigid) sports tape is generally the most appropriate. (For finger taping 12.5mm or 25mm is usually the most appropriate size, although 38mm is often used and may be cut or torn so that it is half of its original thickness or smaller). This should always be used in combination with hypoallergenic tape as an underlay, such as Fixomull.
Benefits of Finger Taping
When used correctly, finger taping techniques can be used to:
- Aid healing of finger injuries
- Allow an earlier return to sport or activity following injury
- Reduce the likelihood of injury aggravation
- Prevent finger injuries (such as a sprained finger) during high risk activities or sports (such as football, basketball, rugby etc.).
Indications for Finger Taping
It is generally beneficial to tape a finger in the following instances:
- Following certain finger injuries – Finger strapping may be beneficial following certain finger injuries (such as sprains). This should be discussed with the treating physiotherapist as certain finger injuries should not be taped – such as some fractures.
- To prevent injury or injury aggravation – Finger strapping may be beneficial during sports or activities that place the finger at risk of injury or injury aggravation (such as ball or contact sports)
When should I avoid Finger Taping?
Finger taping should be avoided in the following instances:
- If you have certain injuries such as some fractures (this should be discussed with the treating physiotherapist)
- If you have a skin allergy to sports tape
- If the taping technique results in an increase in symptoms such as pain, ache, itchiness, discolouration, pins and needles, numbness, swelling or excessive redness of the wrist, hand, fingers or thumb.
- If you have sensory or circulatory problems
Weaning off finger tape in general activity is usually recommended as strength, range of movement and function improves and symptoms reduce. In these instances though, taping during high-risk activity (such as some sports) is usually still recommended.
Finger Taping Techniques
The following taping techniques may be used to provide support for the finger and are particularly beneficial following a sprained finger, or, to prevent a sprained finger. Generally it is recommended that the area is shaved 12 hours prior to taping (to prevent painful removal of hairs and skin irritation). The skin should be cleaned and dried, removing any grease or sweat. Low irritant Fixomull tape should be applied as an under-wrap to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation with rigid sports tape over the top of this.
Some or all of these taping techniques may be applied to tape the finger and provide the support required for the individual.
Place a strip of tape around the finger, just above and below the affected joint (figure 1). This should be applied gently to prevent circulatory problems and is used as a fixation point for the other taping techniques.
Keeping the finger in a neutral position, start the tape at the level of the lower anchor at the side of the finger by following the black arrows (figure 2). Conclude this taping technique at the level of the upper anchor by firmly following the white arrows (figure 2). Do 1 – 2 side crosses at both the inner and outer aspect of the finger, slightly forward or backward of each other depending on the amount of support required.
Side Vertical Lines
Complete Finger Taping Recipe
Removing the tape
Care should be taken when removing the tape to avoid injury aggravation or skin damage. Blunt nosed tape scissors should be used. The tape should be removed slowly, pulling the tape back on itself with pressure placed on the skin as close as possible to the line of attachment of the tape.
Generally tape should be removed with 48 hours of tape application or sooner if there is any increase in pain or symptoms (including skin irritation or itchiness).
Finger Taping Summary
To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with finger strapping click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.
Find a physiotherapist in your local area who can help with taping a finger.
- Read about Finger Sprains.
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