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Taping for Lateral Elbow Injuries - Stuart Hinds


Taping techniques are increasingly performed after trigger point therapy sessions to help “unload” the treated muscle

The use of taping has become increasingly common as an adjunct to manual therapy, and trigger point therapy offers a number of excellent opportunities to exploit the benefits of taping.

Like so many manual therapy techniques, there is simply too little research to make a strong case one way or another for the benefits of taping.

However, most therapists who use taping will tell you that it is often extremely effective as a method of providing support to weakened muscles whilst providing full range of motion for the client. 

The Journal of Sports Medicine (Feb 2013) reviewed the evidence from 10 research papers about the effectiveness of kinesio tape in preventing sports injuries:

  • No clinically important results were found to support the tape’s use for pain relief.

  • There were inconsistent range-of-motion results.

  • Seven outcomes relating to strength were beneficial.

  • The tape had some substantial effects on muscle activity, but it was not clear whether these changes were beneficial or harmful.

  • The review concluded that there was little quality evidence to support the use of kinesio tape over other types of elastic taping to manage or prevent sports injuries.

In summary, taping where it is used by therapists to provide support and off-loading for weakened muscles (usually between treatments) is generally useful and effective.

It is unlikely however to provide any form of therapy in itself. We should add here that there is some evidence to support the use of tape in aiding the reduction of pain (Thelen et al. 2008).

We should also add that the anecdotal evidence for taping is overwhelming, most especially amongst therapists who work in sports and athletics.


Stuart is a lecturer at Victoria University, Melbourne, where he teaches Soft Tissue Techniques.

Stuart works primarily with elite athletes and has been part of the Australian Olympic manual therapy team for over 20 years (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012).

In 2016, Stuart received a lifetime achievement award from the Australian Association of Massage Therapy.


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Tim Clarke said:

I was surfing through the internet for a while just to get in-depth information about the topic you wrote about and it really helped me to know about how trigger point therapy can help in tapping elbow. Keep sharing such blogs further as well. And kindly let me know how can I subscribe to the Newsletter. Thanks.

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Scraping, a manual, ancient practice where pain points are worked with a gua sha (smooth-edged tool), reportedly increases blood flow by up to 400 per cent more than foam rolling and massage guns. By breaking up old, damaged blood vessels to promote new growth and healing, these tools are useful for getting into the nooks and crannies of a pain point, especially in delicate areas like along the shin muscles and under the foot.

Tim Tian has taken the scraper idea and supercharged it, creating a manual, triangular tool that blends heat and vibration therapy. “Cold blades stiffen muscles, blocking a deep release,” he says.

The heated scraper device takes just three seconds to reach 50ºC. This helps muscles soften, making it easier to massage away tension, increase blood flow and promote healing. The scraper is specially great for alleviating delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the quads, and provides a relaxing switch-up from the foam roller slog.