We’ve all seen it; the weird looking black tape that from certain angles looks like it is keeping Gareth Bale’s shorts up from the inside. So what is it and why is Gareth Bale using it?
The tape is actually a special kind of tape called Kenesio Tape and is a new treatment for providing support for muscles and joint injuries without limiting moving. How it does this is by being made out of a type of cotton that has the same capacity to stretch as the human skin, so it can be wrapped around the healing area and not restrict a person’s movement, making it perfect for athletes.
Medical experts who believe in the product believe the wave pattern on the adhesive surface actually lifts the skin whilst sticking to it, improving circulation and thereby helping to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
Bale is not the first high profile athlete to use the substance, it was used by Japanese athletes at the Seoul Olympics and really took off in the United States after Beach Volleyball star, Kerri Walsh used it on her way to win gold at the Beijing Games. Since then, other American big name sports stars to use the tape include Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong.
So why is Bale wearing it?
Judging by the area Bale usually applies the tape to, it would appear to be protecting his Groin muscles on both legs (although without lifting his shorts up, I can’t be a hundred percent sure!) Although there has not been a lengthy history of Bale missing game time with groin injuries, with someone who has the speed and length of stride that Bale possesses, it will always be a possibility.
This means it could well be a preventative measure and although there is very little evidence currently to support the tapes effectiveness in the medium to long term. However, in Bale’s case it could be working in a Placebo type way. Or, knowing footballers, it might be a purely superstitious thing in that it worked once and now he wants to wear it every game (remember Robbie Fowler’s old nasal stripes).
Why ever it is working I’m sure I’ll speak for all my fellow Welshman (oh, and Spurs fans) in supporting its continued use in Gareth Bale’s career!
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