What’s a sports bandage?

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Sports injuries can be treated with various types of bandages, including athletic wraps, tape, and braces. These bandages can reduce pain, swelling, and support joints. Trainers and medical professionals apply them to joints such as fingers, wrists, knees, and ankles. Athletes can also use them for injury prevention and rehabilitation. Different types of bandages are used for different types of injuries, such as duct tape for finger sprains and knee braces for dislocated or torn knees.

When sports injuries occur, there are several types of sports bandages to choose from to aid in the recovery process. Medical professionals apply a sports bandage for injuries to joints, such as the fingers, wrists, knees and ankles. For nicks or cuts, trainers place a traditional bandage over the wound and then secure it with tape. Athletes and others may also use a sports wrap for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

The athletic wrap is a mainstay for a sports wrap. The wrap is a strong yet flexible fabric material used to reduce pain and keep swelling down on joints, especially the ankles and wrists. Sneakers wash and reuse wrappers. Once an ankle is wrapped, it should be secured with tape.

Athletic tape is also a staple in sports bandaging. Athletes often use athletic tape to help support a sprained ankle. If the athlete has a prior history of sprains, he may tap one or both ankles prior to training or competitive events. Ankle taping is especially common in high-motion sports like basketball, soccer, and football. Because it can be difficult for an athlete to tap their ankle, a trainer is important to assist in the process.

Widely used for finger sprains, a trainer uses duct tape to tape the sprained finger to an uninjured one, so the two move in unison. Usually, they apply ice between sporting events to remove swelling. Once the swelling has subsided and the finger is fully mobile, a sports bandage will no longer be needed.

An alternative to athletic tape is an ankle, knee, or wrist brace. This option saves the athlete time by avoiding the bandaging process by simply tying the brace to the foot or wrist. These braces are commonly made of leather and Velcro and often have a metal lining at the ankle for added stabilization. Braces range from light to heavy. Athletes with frequent ankle problems wear sturdy braces on both ankles.

For a dislocated, bruised or torn knee, a trainer will likely use a knee brace. These are bulkier sports bandages made with a combination of rubber, leather, and Velcro. Instructors may choose traditional cloth wrap to treat minor knee injuries. Athletes use knee pads for injury prevention most commonly in American football, ruge in baseball. One downside is that a knee brace is a sports wrap that can be bulky and limit maneuverability.

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