Elastic adhesive bandages or EAB such as Elastoplast are elasticated sports strapping tapes commonly used in football by the physio for taping ankles, to offer a less rigid level of support than zinc oxide tape which is more commonly used in rugby. EAB is also used as a compression bandage, and for taping the head and ears in rugby, and to cover wound dressings in a first aid situation.

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What are Elastic adhesive bandages?

Elastic Adhesive Bandages (EAB) have been in medical practice for many years.
Listed in the British Pharmacopoeia as Elastic adhesive bandages BP they are widely used in hospitals and general practice as an adhesive elasticated bandage for the application of graduated compression in sprains, immobilization of joints and for the application of pressure in soft tissue injuries.

Historically, the market leader was Elastoplast Elastic Adhesive Bandage by Smith and Nephew. Elastoplast tape is now known as Tensoplast by BSN, and these and other EABs are probably still the most commonly used sports tape in sports physio taping practice today.

Elastic adhesive strapping tape is a cotton stretch bandage with an adhesive mix that traditionally contains zinc oxide, latex, and a variety of other components. In the light of increased awareness of allergies, in recent years many manufacturers have been using other adhesive mixtures, to avoid skin reactions.

How to choose EAB strapping tape?

There are essentially two styles of EAB; ribbon edge and cut edge.

Ribbon edge as in Elastoplast was developed for the hospital market where the bandage has a narrow unwoven fluffy edge which is designed to improve stickiness when applying layers of tape. (The adhesive sticks better to the loose fibres on the edges). This style of bandage also traditionally has a yellow or orange line down the centre to help with alignment during taping. Elastoplast sports tape is hugely popular in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The elasticity and quality of the cotton cloth in Tensoplast conform to BP standards, and as such have helped BSN become market leader in the field of compression bandages.

Cut edge EABs have a straight edge. Traditionally, they are manufactured on a wide piece of cotton cloth, zinc oxide adhesive is sprayed on and evenly spread with a blade, then cut into different widths. Nowadays, the hot melt adhesive technique is gaining popularity in the manufacture of this type of strapping tape. This method is used for the popular Leukoband Club by BSN

How to use an elastic adhesive bandage?

In sport, these strappings are used in a number of situations: For medical taping, in contrast to rigid zinc oxide sports tape, elastic adhesive bandages are often used in taping techniques for weak ankles or sprains when the physio prefers a little stretch or “give” in the tape.

These strapping methods tend to be popular in football, while in Rugby sports tapes are more often seen protecting the ears of the locks or used in line out lifting bandages around the thighs. The physiotherapist creates a bandage wrap with a wedge of foam and having applied this to the thigh, it is used as a grip for lifting.

More often, however lightweight, tearable elastic adhesive bandages such as Mueller Tearlight, and Lightplast Pro are used for this Rugby taping technique.

Elastic adhesive bandages are the bread and butter of sports taping and strapping.