Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tape or No Tape?

Athletes tape their fingers up for football, basketball, martial arts, and climbing. Why do they though? What does taping fingers do that will help the athlete perform? When it comes to injured fingers, taping them up is most likely the way to go about healing them. Taping the injured finger or fingers to another will make a splint and let the fingers still be able to bend. Rock climbers, however, tape fingers to prevent injury, protect already injured fingers, or to improve tendon strength in the fingers.

For the sprained fingers of a basketball player, taping them up is the way to go. For a rock climber the use of tape is a debatable subject. If an injury is present, the climber will want to consider taping up. A beginning rock climber who is having difficulty maintaining their grip or has swore fingers after climbing should consider holding off on the tape.

Beginners should want to build up their grip and finger strength without the use of reenforcement taping. If a beginner tapes up for every climb they might be preventing injury, but when they decide to take the tape off an injury might occur more easily because the fingers haven't built up their own strength. When thinking about becoming a rock climber, one should always, as with any sport, train first before tackling the difficult climbs.

"I never taped till I tore the tendon in my right ring finger," climber Aaron Cash explained. "Now I take my time and warm up a lot before I climb. I still try not to tape, but I sure don't want to rip my fingers apart." Tendon injuries take longer to heal than muscle injuries. While at first a rookie climber might think that the muscles in their forearms are the source of the pain, it is most likely the tendons that run through them. It could take a couple months or more for them to fully heal.

For injured fingers some tape and/or a splint is the way to go. If one is wanting to become a rock climber or is just starting out hold off on the tape until it is really needed. Aaron Cash has been climbing for four years and when asked about the use of tape he said, "Don't let it (tape) be a crutch because one day it might not be there to help."

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