What is Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology taping (or Kinesio taping) is applying a thin, stretchy, cotton-based therapeutic tape that can benefit a wide variety of injuries and inflammatory conditions. It is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, which allows it to be worn without binding, constricting, or restricting movement.
You would have noticed that more and more professional athletes use kinesiology taping to improve their sporting performance. Physiotherapists use kinesiology taping every day to assist muscles and their interaction with your body. Not only does this potentially provide pain-free movement, but it also helps your physiotherapist to determine which muscles or joints require additional control. They can then prescribe the best exercises for your body. For advice on whether kinesiology tape is suitable for you, please consult your physiotherapist.
What is Kinesiology Taping?
Kinesiology tape is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive. Therapeutic kinesiology tape may benefit a wide variety of musculoskeletal and sports injuries.
Kinesiology tape is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, allowing kinesio tape to be worn without binding, constricting, or restricting your movement.
Clinically, we use kinesiology tape for treating athletic injuries and a variety of physical disorders. Japanese practitioners were the primary users of the therapeutic kinesiology tape. By 1988 the tape had been adopted by Japanese Olympic and professional athletes before spreading across the world.
Professional athletes use kinesiology taping to improve sporting performance, prevent injury and allow athletes to return to sport quicker.
How is Kinesiology Tape Different from Conventional Strapping Tape?
Kinesiology tape differs from other types of strapping tape in both its form and function. Most types of strapping tape are non-elastic and are wrapped firmly around an injured joint or muscle to provide rigid support and restrict movement. For this reason, the rigid strapping tape needs removal after short periods.
Kinesiology tape differs. It has unique elastic properties that allow the kinesiology tape to provide dynamic support. This active support provides an almost second layer of support that may assist weaker muscles. Plus, due to its elastic properties, kinesiology tape allows your body parts full motion to enable a near-normal range of motion.
Kinesiology tape can be worn during intense exercise, in the shower or even swimming. This application longevity means that the tape can potentially guide your movement while you stay active.
What are the Benefits of Kinesiology Taping?
Kinesiology tape has a comprehensive array of therapeutic benefits. These therapeutic benefits are available to the injured area 24-hours a day.
1. Pain Relief
Kinesiology taping relieves pain through different mechanisms. These could either physical or neurological mechanisms.
- Physically, the kinesiology tape’s lifting action may help relieve pressure on pain receptors directly under the skin. This reduced pressure may provide both short and medium-term pain relief.
- Chronic pain could improve via sensory stimulation of some nerve fibres.
2. Swelling Reduction
- By lifting this skin, kinesiology taping provides a negative pressure under the tape. This vacuum may allow the lymphatic drainage channels to drain swelling and other inflammatory cells away from the injured area.
3. Lymphoedema Reduction
- Based on kinesiology taping’s lift and de-pressuring principle, it may be useful in the reduction of lymphoedema.
4. Reduced Muscle Fatigue, Cramps and DOMS.
- Exercise and repeated muscle contractions produce post-exercise byproducts such as lactic acid. Lactic acid can cause poor muscle performance, fatigue cramping and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- Kinesiology tape may help remove lactic acid and other exercise byproducts from the region, assisting muscle performance and reducing fatigue, cramps, and DOMS.
5. Assists Weak or Injured Muscles
- Kinesiology tape may provide both physical and neurological support for your dynamic structures, such as muscles. This support may assist everyday activities, high-level sport or potentially low tone children.
6. Quicker Return to Sport, Work and Play
- By supporting weak or painful structures, kinesiology tape may allow injured athletes to return to sport quicker than without dynamic support.
FAQ’s about Kinesiology Taping
What Can Kinesiology Tape Help With?
Kinesiology tape has the potential to assist a variety of conditions. It's recommended that you consult your treating physiotherapist for advice.
Soft Tissue Injuries
For acute soft tissue injuries:
In muscle facilitation, it can aid in:
- Muscle weakness
- Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
Joint proprioception retraining addresses:
- Joint alignment and maltracking eg Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
- Joint instability or hypermobility eg Subluxations and Dislocations
- Posture issues such as round shoulders and a slouched spine
- Scapular instability (SICK)
In the case of bone injuries, it provides:
- Support post-fracture
- Tenoperiosteal support, for example in cases like shin splints
- Relief for adolescent growing pains
Tendinopathies and fasicopathies, including:
Foot & Ankle
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Achilles Tendon Rupture
- FHL Tendinopathy
- Peroneal Tendinopathy
- Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy
- Plantar Fasciitis
Hip & Groin
Wrist & Hand
It's also effective in managing:
- Swelling and oedema
- Joint swelling
Kinesiology taping also encompasses strapping and supportive taping. Remember, your physiotherapist can provide further guidance on its usage. Please seek their professional assistance.