The following wrist taping techniques are designed to support the wrist and reduce stress on the wrist during activity. They can be used for both the treatment and prevention of wrist injuries.
You should discuss the suitability of these wrist 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 or fingers.
What sort of tape should be used to tape my wrist?
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 wrist 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 Wrist Taping
When used correctly, wrist taping techniques can:
- Aid healing of wrist injuries.
- Allow an earlier return to sport or activity following injury.
- Reduce the likelihood of injury aggravation.
- Prevent wrist injuries (such as sprained wrists) during high risk activities or sports (such as boxing, snowboarding, skateboarding etc.).
Indications for Wrist Taping
It is generally beneficial to tape a wrist in the following instances:
- Following certain wrist injuries – Wrist strapping may be beneficial following certain wrist injuries (such as sprains). This should be discussed with the treating physiotherapist as certain wrist injuries should not be taped – such as some fractures.
- To prevent injury or injury aggravation – Wrist strapping may be beneficial during sports or activities that place the wrist at risk of injury or injury aggravation (such as boxing, snowboarding, skateboarding etc.).
When should I avoid Wrist Taping?
Wrist 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 or fingers.
- If you have sensory or circulatory problems
Weaning off wrist 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.
Wrist Taping Techniques
The following taping techniques may be used to provide support for the wrist and are particularly beneficial following a sprained wrist, or, to prevent a sprained wrist. Generally it is recommended that the wrist 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 wrist and provide the support required for the individual.
Place a strip of tape around the palm of the hand just below the four fingers and a strip of tape around the forearm, just before the wrist (figure 1). This should be applied gently to prevent circulatory problems and is used as a fixation point for the other wrist taping techniques.
Keeping the wrist in a neutral position (wrist should be bent backwards slightly – about 30 degrees), start the tape at the level of the forearm anchor on the back of the wrist by following the black arrows (figure 2). Conclude this taping technique at the level of the palm anchor by firmly following the white arrows (figure 2). 2 pieces of tape should be used forming a cross – one beginning from the inner wrist and travelling to the outer hand, the other beginning from the outer wrist, travelling to the inner hand (figure 2). Do 1-2 dorsal crosses depending on the amount of support required.
Dorsal Straight Lines
Palmer Straight Lines
Basic Wrist Taping
Complete Wrist Taping
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 application or sooner if there is any increase in pain or symptoms (including skin irritation or itchiness).
Wrist Taping Summary
To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with Wrist Strapping click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.
Find a physiotherapist in your local area who can help with Wrist Strapping.
- Read about Wrist Sprains.
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