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Health Team

Performance tape becoming more popular in US

Posted February 19
Updated February 21

— With the Winter Olympics giving many world-class athletes more television time than normal, viewers around the country and world are getting more chances to see some of the latest inventions that help athletes perform.

One particular product that is becoming more popular is tape. But thanks to technological advances, the tape of 2014 is helping athletes do more than deal with sprained ankles. 

Australian musculoskeletal physiotherapist Ryan Kendrick said the demand for performance tape that could help athletes deal with chronic pain is why he developed Dynamic Tape, a stretchy tape that is for much more than show. 

"This was designed to be like a spring, so it's real stretchy in all directions," Kendrick said. 

Since founding the company, Kendrick says his tape, which looks more like a tattoo, has helped weight lifters, rugby and lacrosse stars and even sailors. 

"They have these tendonopathies, these running injuries, these throwing injuries, that result from too much load," Kendrick said. 

The tape, which is applied first by a certified trainer, behaves like an external muscle. 

"We can do some of the work of the muscles, so we can reduce the load that is going through there," Kendrick said when describing how the tape could help an athlete manage tennis elbow. 

The bungee effect of the tape helps muscles spring back from exertion, resulting in less stress for the tendons around a joint. 

"We're basically looking at the body as a system of levers, and we're putting a big rubber band between them," Kendrick said. 

Kendrick also believes the tape can prevent injury for non-athletes who deal with certain types of pain. 

He said the product can help with neck pain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain and more, including helping stroke patients who struggle to keep their hands unclenched. 

Several brands of elastic therapeutic or athletic tapes are increasing in use among practices like physical therapists, osteopaths, podiatrists and sports medicine. Some are used more to treat injury rather than performance enhancement. Consult your doctor about what might be best for you.

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