Physio Pat Arnold shares how to tape up a shoulder

THROUGHOUT the season, Echuca-Moama physiotherapist Pat Arnold will give advice to locals on how they can keep their bodies safe.

This week, Pat speaks about how best to tape up a shoulder.

After ankles, shoulders are probably the second most common area a physiotherapist or trainer will tape before a game of footy or netball.

Shoulders are complex and mobile joints.

This, along with the fact that they can be injured in various ways, means we use a lot of different taping methods depending on the injury and sport the athlete is playing.

If you do injure your shoulder, get professional advice from an expert as to how to best tape your shoulder for your return.

Today, I will run you through the most common shoulder taping I apply before local sporting games, which is a taping technique for ‘anterior instability’.

We typically use this taping method for players who have previously dislocated or subluxed their shoulder.

Even after they recover and rehab their shoulder, it still might feel vulnerable in positions where they reach their arm above their head (for example, competing for a mark/catch) or wrenched backwards (for example, when an opponent breaks through an attempted tackle).

When taped well, players report this technique makes a huge difference in protecting their shoulders in these positions.

For this taping, we use fixomull or rigid tape for the anchors and 75mm elastic adhesive bandage for the rest.

Step 1: The athlete places an arm on their hip. Apply two to three anchor strips up and over the top of the shoulder from front to back.

Step 2: With the stretchier ‘elastic adhesive bandage’ tape, start at the anchor at the front of the shoulder.

Apply the tape (with moderate tension) horizontally over the front of the shoulder, and continue to the mid portion of the upper arm bone where you do one and a half loops around the arm (get the athlete to flex their biceps when you do the loop).

When the roll appears from under the arm for the second time, then tape back up the arm, and over the back of the shoulder to finish on the back aspect of your anchor tape.

Step 3: Reapply the anchor tape. I suggest another two to three strips to cover all the loose ends and rub firmly to hold it down.

Get feedback from the athlete as to whether the tightness is right.

Generally they should be able to easily raise the arm above their head, but feel tension/restriction/support when they get there. It might take a few goes to get the tightness right, but with practice it gets a lot easier.

● Please note, some people may have an allergic reaction to tape. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, take it off after 1-2 hours the first time you use it, and discontinue use if you notice signs of skin irritation.

Consider using a hypoallergenic under-wrap tape if needed.

Pat is a Director of Echuca Moama Physiotherapy, which has clinics in Moama, Kyabram and Rochester. For an appointment with Pat call 5480 0860.