Apart from this “conventional” tape bandage, there are also the so-called kinesiotapes, which are also used in cases of Achilles tendonitis. The scientific effect is not proven, but Kinesiotapes are used in the treatment of chronic and acute pain of the Achilles tendon. However, they do not have a stabilizing effect, so that a conventional tape bandage is necessary. This should be applied by an expert orthopaedist or physiotherapist.
The tape bandage has various effects that have a positive effect on the integrity of the Achilles tendon. It consists of strips of tape which are applied to the skin in different ways depending on the desired effect and which protect the joint without immobilising it completely. These plaster strips are quite inelastic and are fixed on one side with an adhesive layer.
There are different types of plaster strips depending on the desired effect. Underlay tapes can be applied under the actual tape bandage in case of allergic reactions. Undesirable and excessive movements are restricted by the tape bandage, making it a functional bandage. In addition, the tape bandage transmits forces to the skin, thus relieving the joint and the ligamentous apparatus (augmentation). The perception of movement is improved (proprioception), compression reduces swelling and injured structures are splinted.
Tapes are available in various thicknesses and designs from different manufacturers. In some countries the term leucotape has become established for the material used in tape dressings. This term is based on the name of the company Leukotape, which produces tape bandages and a wide range of plaster strips.
Taping the Achilles tendon does not always make sense. In case of a proper rupture or inflammation, the tape bandage cannot achieve healing. However, it is a good way to support athletes in the final phase of recovery.
It can also help to be able to resume stress more quickly in competitions and in everyday sports life by stabilising the Achilles tendon. For example, a renewed rupture can be prevented. Tape bandages on the Achilles tendon are otherwise suitable for the prophylaxis of injuries and generally in the prevention of sports injuries.
The tape strips on the Achilles tendon, the heel bone, the lower calf bone and at the bottom of the foot are intended to stabilise the ankle and prevent undesirable movements that would put strain on the Achilles tendon. This relieves the tendon and prevents a painful rupture. Such undesirable movements that could injure the Achilles tendon are abnormal or excessive twisting and kinking movements of the ankle.
The strips of plaster attached parallel to the Achilles tendon stabilize the joint so that the tendon is well relieved. The skin must be shaved and cleaned before applying the plaster strips. Fat residues, dirt or cream can hinder the adhesion of the bandage.
The plaster strips must be applied tightly and without wrinkles parallel to the Achilles tendon. However, they should not constrict, as this can lead to blood congestion due to reduced venous drainage. In general, two strips of plaster are applied starting at the sole of the foot, over the heel and the calf bone to just below the knee.
They are located to the right and left of the Achilles tendon. The two strips are then fixed in about three places with transverse tapes. The application of such a tape bandage to the Achilles tendon should be done under the guidance of an orthopaedic surgeon, especially the first time, because otherwise the complaints can even worsen if the bandage is applied incorrectly or too tightly.
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Tape bandages must not be stuck to injured or irritated skin. If allergies to adhesives and plasters are known, tape bandages should not be applied. The skin should be clean, dry and free of grease before application.
Ointments and lotions must be wiped off before applying the plaster strips. When applying the bandage, care must be taken to ensure that it is not too tight. The blood supply to the affected limb must not be cut off.
Furthermore, the tapes must not cut into the skin at any point or rub when moving. The most common side effects of taping are skin intolerance reactions, reduced blood supply to the skin and muscles, congestion of venous blood in the limb and pressure points. When taping the Achilles tendon, the bandage is not wrapped as is the case with conventional bandages.
The aim of the application is rather to support the diseased tendon. For this purpose, the strips of tape are stuck parallel to the Achilles tendon. One starts under the heel of the foot and runs the tape parallel to the Achilles tendon on the calf up to just under the knee joint.
The plaster strips are stuck in pairs alternately on the right and left according to the scheme two on the right and two on the left. Crosswise running plaster strips should stabilize the tapes in about three planes on the calf and at the level of the Achilles tendon. The bandage should support the ankle joint while maintaining mobility and help to protect the inflamed Achilles tendon.