Why Do Soccer Players Tape Their Wrists? Is This Important?

why do soccer players tape their wrists

In modern soccer, it is a common occurrence that soccer players wear wrists around their ankles. While watching a game at the stadium, or on a TV, you can notice at least several players with tapes around their ankles. This is done due to numerous reasons.

This article explains that in details …

Reasons why soccer players tape their wrists …

First, this is for protection reasons! Soccer players are constantly exposed to contact and duel games with opponent’s players.

In order to take the ball away from them, their opponents often use sliding tackles that could be dangerous.

Besides allowed moves, they sometimes use illegal actions, such as jersey pulling, tripping, pushing, tackles from the back. All that can lead to serious ankle injury. Tape wrists are used as a means of protection.

Tape wrists present additional support to ankles and can prevent sprain of joints and ankles. If injury occurs, wrists as a part of additional protection can prevent the occurrence of a serious injury.

They are used because of the fact that joints and ankles have low protection and support, and this is the reason why these are the most common injuries in soccer.

Often can lead to a painful surgery and long rehabilitation. Having tapes can provide additional security and maybe prevent serious injury.

Tight playing schedule in today’s soccer requires fast as possible return to the playing field after injury happens. Often, players return to playing even if they are not fully recovered.

Due to higher risk of recurrence of an injury in that scenario, tape wrists provide additional stability and can prevent too much movement and sprain of joints. That is why it is out of most importance to keep them taped tight enough.

Tape wrists are used also to cover tattoos. Athletes, and especially soccer players, tend to do tattoos on their ankles.

With the use of the tape, they try to cover that area, and hide it from public eyes. Tattoo covering is used when tattoos are in collision with club’s politics.

Another reason to use them is to hide jewelry. Some players wear jewelry on their ankles, and regulations of certain leagues do not allow that.

If a referee notices that a player wears some type of jewelry, he will ask him to remove it in order to ensure security of other players on the field. If that piece of jewelry has sentimental value, the player is not kin on removing it, so covers it with tape.

One additional reason is esthetic. Soccer players sometimes try to show their style that way, and some use it as a way to boost their confidence with their overall look.

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Are wrists obligatory for Goalies?

During a game, Goalkeepers are exposed to a large number of shots, which they prevent mostly with their hands (That’s one of the reasons why goalies usually use big gloves) !

As a part of these efforts, often they fall on the ground. Due to this additional stress on their hands, they are keen on using wrists to protect themselves.

Every shot goalkeepers stop is additional pressure for ankles. Tapes give them extra support, especially if they fall on the ground after jumping to a side to prevent opponents from scoring.

These falls can be awkward and sometimes painful for ankles. Tapes can help here, with reducing the possibility of an injury.

One example of this behavior is Tottenham Hotspurs’ goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris. He had severe ankle injury and after recovering from it, tape wrists are an indispensable part of his equipment.

3 players known for taping their wrists …

One of the most famous soccer players recognizable by wearing tape wrists is Uruguay national team member Luis Suarez.

This fantastic striker scored goals in clubs such as Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, wearing a wrist around the ankle on his right arm for years now. It is especially noted when he scores a goal and celebrates it.

While playing at Liverpool, he injured a bone in his hand, and since then he does not take the tape off when playing.

Although it has passed a long time since the injury, tape has symbolic meaning for Suarez and he even stated himself that he always wears it, even when his team plays with long sleeves. Wearing a tape around his ankle, and kissing a tattoo with the names of his wife and children before a game, are part of his rituals. He even believes that having a tape brings him good luck.

Once the most expensive player in the world, Welsh player Gareth Bale, throughout his entire career wears a tape around ankles.

That way he covers the bracelet, which represents his trademark. League officials do not allow wearing a bracelet, as that can jeopardize other players in a duel game, and the player wearing it himself.

Still, Bale found a solution. By taping wrist, he can play comfortably, knowing that the bracelet he cherishes so much is there on his hand.

The most expensive player today and one of the most famous in the world, Brazilian Neymar also wears tapes around his wrists.

This 28-year-old soccer player, playing for French club PSG, had an injury several years ago. Upon returning to the playing field, he wore an orthopedic tool until making full recovery.

Since then, he continued to wear tapes as a means of additional security and comfort.

Many other players wear tape wrists. It is fair to mention great Liverpool soccer player Sadio Mane, as well as Olympic Marseille captain and French national team member Dmirty Payet.

What Tape do they usually use?

Athletic tape is the kind of medical tape that gives additional strength to wrists and support for injured ankles.

It is used for sprain treatment of ankles and joints, and helps the movement of already injured parts. It also can help reduce the occurrence of injuries, due to its supportive role.

Soccer is a sport whose part are harsh duels and tackles. After returning from an injury, using a tape ensures control over ankle movement, with additional support for injured areas. Players may use elastic or non-elastic versions of athletic tape.

Elastic athletic tape allows greater ankle movement, while non-elastic ones are used for stabilization.

Despite athletics, kinesiological tapes are often used. These tapes are made of mesh material, and can be useful for many players.

They can prevent potential injuries from duel games, as well as after taking a hard fall. These falls can be quite inconvenient and lead to injuries or scratch.

Due to sweating, these wounds can lead to infection. This is where kinesiological tapes are most beneficial, as they prevent occurrence of infections. These tapes players can wear even on their knees.

How to Tape a wrist for soccer properly?

At first, put your hand up front and hold it tight, with all five fingers stretched.

Take a spray and apply it around your wrist, hand and fingers. Spray will work like a glue and fix the tape more efficiently.

Apply pre-wrap tape first wrapping the tape around the wrist a few times. Part of the tape goes around your thumb, and then again around the wrist. After that, put anchor tapes around your wrist.

You should apply them around, and above your wrist at the area between your thumb and index finger.

Be sure they are not taped too tight, in order to avoid disturbing blood circulation. Additional support to your tape will provide wrapping a support tape diagonally, from the direction of your hand to your elbow, as well as from different sides of a hand to each other.

In the end, close the tape with wrapping another layer around the wrist itself. That way, you have appropriately taped around your wrist for stability and flexibility at the same time.

Final Thoughts: What other sports do athletes wear wrists?

One of the sports where tapes are a part of common use is tennis. In this sport, players are exposed to constant hitting the tennis ball with their racket, so using a tape fastens the wrists and protects from severe injuries.

Football is another sport where we can see players using the wrist tapes, being one of the most physically demanding sports.  Players are constantly exposed to harsh tackles, with a lot of energy and power used to take the ball away from an opponent. As a matter of prevention, players wrap the tape around their joints.

Basketball players use these tapes also. During basketball games, they are exposed to contact games and jumps. They use tapes to get additional stability for their ankles, and prevent potential joints sprain.

In volleyball, players use tapes around their fingers, not as much around ankles.

Baseball is also an example of sport whose players use tapes. They provide support to ankles in case of being hit by a ball at high speed.

Finally, since I know for a fact that not many people know about the risks that come with soccer … That’s why I highly invite you to learn about Soccer Dangers and to deal with them!

Claressa Cormier

Claressa Cormier has over 15 years of soccer experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest soccer teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right foot.

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