When Should I Wear a Brace and When Should I Wear Tape?

Knee brace in a weight room

What is medical tape used for?

Medical brace or medical tape – which is the best in what situation? Both are popular in the athletic industry, but they are both needed for other purposes too. To know when to wear medical tape vs brace, let’s discuss their differences first.

The primary benefit of medical tape is to bind an injury with a custom fit to the person’s body. Medical tape also comes in different strengths to provide the right amount of support for various degrees of injury severities. What is the purpose of medical tape instead of going right for the permanent solution? Using medical tape is typically a short-term solution for what may be a long-term problem or to give reinforcement for a previous injury that may still be healing.

An athletic brace is used for longer lasting injuries, typically sports injuries. A brace is often made of a typical type of medical bandage material, the better grade of brace will have a solid piece of polymer that immobilizes the injury. While a brace gives the injured joint support, it is not allowing that joint or the muscles surrounding it, the opportunity to strengthen like medical tape.

Does medical tape stick to skin?

Medical tape is specifically designed to be used on the skin to hold bandages over wounds or first aid or medical appliances in place, such as an IV. Medical tape needs to be easy to use but safe for the patient’s skin and strong enough to stay in place while the patient bends and moves, dry or wet. 

There are three jobs that medical tape provides: 

  • Initial stick
  • Increase adhesion
  • Remain intact

The initial stick doesn’t keep the medical tape in place, that requires applied pressure to improve the medical tape’s adhesion. For medica tape to stay intact, the emollients and oils on the patient’s skin need to be minimized or removed before the medical tape will effectively stick. This often requires an adhesive remover or lotion to remove the tape when needed for bandage change or removal. 

How long does medical tape last?

For the best effect, medical tape should be applied  by an experienced professional, like an athletic trainer, doctor, or  physical therapist. No two injuries are alike and even the most dedicate athlete cannot apply medical tape on theirs or anyone else’s injury with the same expertise as those mentioned. Apply medical tape to an injury incorrectly can often make the injury worse, even though the athlete is able to return to the game. 

When medical tape is applied correctly during a game or practice, the player’s movements and sweat will weaken the support of the tape in about thirty minutes. When medical tape is applied incorrectly, it may weaken and even fall off within a few seconds. 

What is the best medical tape?

Medical tape is handy for manty types of situations, and it would be ideal to have one for every different types of medical situation possible. However, there isn’t a doctor therapist, or trainer that has the capacity to carry one or more of every medical tape that is available. So, they must carry the one, maybe two, that servers their uses the best.

The one-size-fits-all approach is typical when putting together a portable first aid kit. It conserves the valuable space and weight and ideal for most applications and needs.  A non-woven cloth medical tape is ranks high for initial and long-term adhesion on dry skin, and mid-ranked for adhesion to damp skin. It breathes, stretches, and is water resistant, making this the most commonly used and popular medical tape.

Why use medical tape? 

Proper placement of medical tape is integral for proper wound care. There are different types of medical tape and there are different benefits of using medical tape. To answer this question, we’re going to use clear medical tape as our example because it can be used for emergencies or general skin care. 

  • Great for general medical needs like scraped knees
  • Hypoallergenic to eliminate or minimize skin irritation
  • Breathable, Waterproof
  • Transparency allows the wound to be viewed without removing the bandage
  • Holds the bandage in place so that wound heals better and faster
knee with medical tape

What If You Don’t Have Any Medical Tape? 

What can you use instead of medical tape? There are times we can be caught unprepared to handle wound care, and that means, we don’t always have medical tape nearby. So, what can use instead? For an open wound, use any type of clean cloth, if possible, boil or wash it first at 90C or go over with a hot iron.  If the cloth will tear, create strips the size of an ordinary bandage and then use duct tape, masking tape, or any type of tape to hold the makeshift bandage in place. Need help with medical taping for your body’s needs? Call __PHONE__ today.