by Premier County Physio, Co. Tipperary
As ever sports person knows, strapping of peripheral joints by a physiotherapist prior to training or a match is a common occurrence in any dressing room. Players initially start getting a particular body part strapped secondary to sustaining an injury, but does that mean you can just forget about the rehab and go back playing?
It is important to remember that strapping of any joint due to injury is only an immediate and temporary solution. Sports strapping only supports the area for the period the tape is applied and does not encourage any rehabilitation or retraining of the underlying neuromuscular impairment during this time. So although strapping as a standalone solution allows a person to continue to play, it does not promote or encourage a complete return to full fitness. This then becomes an issue when a player who is eager to return to playing, skips the rehab phase and relies on the strapping to compensate for the insufficiencies that he/she are lacking as a result of the injury. This ultimately means that this player is always at a higher risk of re injury and additional damage. It also may explain why players, although still playing, experience ongoing pain and discomfort throughout the season.
It is therefore important to remember that rehabilitation is the key to a successful and uneventful return to play. It is imperative for any player who has been injured to seek their local chartered physiotherapist. This ensures that they receive the correct advice and help with managing their initial/ongoing injury and will guarantee the design and implementation of an appropriate rehabilitation programme so that a return to full fitness can be achieved. It also means that strapping no longer becomes your primary treatment and preventative measure, but a complementary adjunct that is part of an all round rehabilitation strategy to keeping you fit, healthy and on top of your game.