This sports taping technique for Tennis Elbow uses zinc oxide tape to support the damaged tissues and provide protection against re-injury.
A little while ago we described a kinesiology tape technique to help treat the pain of tennis elbow. As a follow-up, here’s another taping technique for tennis elbow. This technique differs by using zinc oxide tape, which is a rigid tape (i.e. it does not stretch.) This technique offers more mechanical support to the injury than the kinesiology tape. If applied correctly, the zinc oxide tape will physically restrict extension of the elbow. This may offer some protection against re-injury during activities that involve movement of the forearm.
- 3.8cm Zinc Oxide Tape (we offer this in coloured varieties or in plain white)
- Scissors (optional – zinc oxide tape can usually be torn by hand)
Zinc oxide tape is an adhesive tape and will stick best to clean, dry skin. So you will need to prepare by washing and drying the affected arm. If the arm is very hairy, you may need to shave or trim the area because excess hair will interfere with the adhesive on the tape. Alternatively, you could use a pre-taping spray – such as Tensospray – which will coat the hair and skin in a sticky film to improve adhesion. But it is usually better to trim back the hair.
This technique is difficult to do on yourself, so you will need someone to apply the tape. The rest of these instructions are written the viewpoint of the person doing the taping.
Step 1: Have the patient stand or sit with the affected arm at their side. The arm should be bent 90° at the elbow, with the palm turned up and the forearm parallel to the floor. They’ll need to hold this position throughout the taping.
Step 2: First, circle the mid-forearm once with the zinc oxide tape. This tape does not need to be tight or to press into the flesh. This is the ‘anchor’ that forms the starting point of the tape job:
Step 3: Take a strip of zinc oxide tape and stick its end to the anchor on the side of the forearm nearest the patient’s body (the medial side). Bring the strip of tape diagonally up and across the forearm towards the side of the elbow furthest away from the body (the lateral side).
Step 4: Direct the strip of tape around the back of the upper arm just above the elbow joint, bringing the tape strip around the arm to finish on the bicep.
Step 5: Apply a second strip of tape on the same path up and around the arm. Overlap the first strip by about a third of its width.
Step 6: Circle the mid-forearm with tape again, directly over the first anchor in order to lock down the ends of the tape strips.