This really depends on your specific condition, and everyone is different. Bracing can help with minimizing pain, improving function, or earlier return to sports. There are 3 goals of bracing or taping:
- Rehabilitative bracing provides support for an injured limb/structure, immobilization for recent injuries, or compression to reduce swelling. It aims to restrict movement to protect injured structures and allow earlier return to activity. These types of bracing can temporarily compensate for weakened structure while healing by adding external support.
- Prophylactic or preventative braces are designed to prevent or reduce severity of injury. They are used in situations where there is a high risk of re-injury. For example, certain splints or orthotics are used to prevent foot drop or muscular contractors.
- Functional braces aims to compensate for weakened or degenerated structures. This added support increases ligament stability and improves proprioception feedback post-injury. Kinesiotaping can provide feedback to facilitate or inhibit the activation of certain muscles.
There are different factors you must consider to determine whether you would be more suited to buy a brace or tape for your injury.
- Cost: Taping costs can add up depending on how frequently you change the tape and how often you use it. Cost of bracing ranges widely, but it is only a one-time cost. Make an appointment with your local physiotherapist for more information on the type and cost of specific braces.
- Ease of use: There is a certain technique to taping. An expertise is required to ensure the tape has been positioned correctly for your condition. A physiotherapist or chiropractor with experience in athletic taping can educate you on the process.
- Allergies: The types of adhesives on different tapes can cause an allergic reaction. If you have allergies to bandages or tape, ensure to monitor the area of taping for rashes, redness, or itchiness.
- Usage: Consider when you will be using the brace. Is it only for when you are walking in the community, or do you use it when you play sports? Different sports have their own regulations on the types of hard braces (if any) that are allowed during games. Find out about your sport’s rules and regulations on bracing before buying any tape or brace.
That’s all for now.
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