Cohesive tapes stick to themselves but not to the skin making them an effective adhesive free compression bandage for soft tissue injuries, or to form a wrap to support joints ligaments and tendons.
What are cohesive bandages?
Cohesive tape has been developed in a number of medical fields over the years. It has been particularly useful as a first aid bandage for some time, but is very popular in veterinary medicine where the fact that it doesn’t have an adhesive is very helpful when forming a wrap for the application of compression to an injured animal. These tend to be known generically as Vet Wrap or Co-Flex.
In sport, cohesive wrap is a very flexible tape to have in the kit bag. Cohesive Bandages are unique in that they stick to themselves but not the skin or hairs.
They are very stretchy and therefore offer the physio the opportunity to choose different levels of compression when taping an ankle or other sports injury.
How to choose a cohesive bandage?
While Mueller, BSN, and 3M market their products M- Lastic, Tensoplus and Coban self adhesive bandage for a range of medical applications, Andover Medical from the USA has specifically developed Cohesive taping programmes for Powerflex and Powertape which are designed to offer alternatives to zinc oxide athletic taping techniques in sport.
As with all tapes practitioners have their favourites when choosing their physio supplies; physiotherapists working in football tend to favour M-Lastic and Powerflex while Scottish Rugby loves Tensoplus and England cricket use a lot of Coban as finger tape.
Underwrap while not considered as a true cohesive tape is marketed by Mueller as M Wrap and is designed to protect the skin in athletic taping methods.
How to use cohesive tapes?
Cohesive sports tape is often used, particularly in football, in place of zinc oxide tape or elastic adhesive bandages.
The fact that it stretches, yet when applied maintains a constant level of compression, means that it doesn’t loosen after application, and the flexibility of adding layers of tape to add support is very useful when taping a sprained ankle, for example.
The fact that this strapping tape can be torn by hand and is re-useable make it an essential component of a sports first aid kit.
It is even used to stop bleeding; Mueller market their M-Lastic as a blood spill tape. Wrap it around a bleeding wound, layer after layer to apply compression and absorb blood, or to hold an ice pack in place over a soft tissue injury.