Shoulder Taping

Written by Brett Harrop

Updated:

The following shoulder taping techniques are designed to support the shoulder and reduce stress on the shoulder during sport or general activity. They can be used for both the treatment and prevention of shoulder injuries.

You should discuss the suitability of these shoulder 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 shoulder, arm, hand, or fingers.


What sort of tape should be used to tape my shoulder?

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 shoulder strapping 38mm is usually the most appropriate size). This should always be used in combination with hypoallergenic tape as an underlay, such as Fixomull.



Benefits of Shoulder Taping

When used correctly, shoulder taping techniques can:


Indications for Shoulder Taping

It is generally beneficial to tape a shoulder in the following instances:


When should I avoid Shoulder Taping?

Shoulder taping should be avoided in the following instances:

Weaning off shoulder tape in general activity is usually recommended as strength, range of movement and function improves and symptoms reduce. In these instances though, shoulder strapping during high-risk activity (such as some sports) is usually still recommended.



Shoulder Taping Techniques

The following taping techniques may be used to provide support for the shoulder and are particularly beneficial following an AC joint sprain or for shoulder instability (often following dislocation), or, to prevent a shoulder injury. Generally it is recommended that the shoulder 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 shoulder and provide the support required for the individual.


Anchors

Begin this taping technique in good posture with the hand positioned on the hip as demonstrated (figure 2). Place a strip of tape around the upper arm keeping the biceps tense and a strip of tape from the shoulder blade to the chest (figures 1 & 2). Begin by following the black arrows and conclude by following the white arrows (figures 1& 2). This should be applied gently to prevent circulatory problems and is used as a fixation point for the other shoulder taping techniques.

Shoulder Strapping - Anchors
Figure 1 – Anchors
Shoulder Strapping - Anchors AP view
Figure 2 – Anchors

Straight Lines

Begin this taping technique in good posture with the hand positioned on the hip as demonstrated (figure 2). Start the tape at the level of the upper arm anchor at the side of the arm by following the black arrow (figure 3). Conclude this taping technique by firmly following the white arrow. Do 1 – 3 straight lines depending on the amount of support required, with each additional line partially overlapping the previous line.

Shoulder Taping - Straight Lines
Figure 3 – Straight Lines


Shoulder Crosses

Begin this taping technique in good posture with the hand positioned on the hip as demonstrated (figure 2). Start the tape at the level of the upper arm anchor at the side of the arm by following the black arrows (figure 4). Conclude this taping technique by firmly following the white arrows. Two lines of tape should be used forming a cross (figure 4). Do 1 – 2 crosses depending on the amount of support required.

Shoulder Strapping - Crosses
Figure 4 – Shoulder Crosses


Rotational Lines

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Front Crosses

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Final Straight Lines

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AC Joint Taping Recipe

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Shoulder Taping for Anterior Shoulder Instability or following Anterior Shoulder Dislocation

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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 within 48 hours of application or sooner if there is any increase in pain or symptoms (including skin irritation or itchiness).


Shoulder Taping Summary

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Physiotherapy Products to Assist with Postural ExercisesPhysiotherapy Products for Shoulder Taping

To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with shoulder strapping click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.


More Physiotherapy Exercises Shoulder Exercises


Other Taping Techniques Other Taping Techniques


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