Kinesiology Tape Benefits

The list of kinesiology tape benefits is so extensive and so varied, it has earned the nickname “magic tape.” It is no wonder that it has become one of the most widely-used therapeutic modalities in both athletic and healthcare settings. Following are are some of the features that make it unique:

  • It is effective on its own, but can be combined with other therapeutic modalities for even greater impact
  • It is worn around the clock for several days, providing therapeutic benefits the entire time
  • It is one of the least expensive but most effective therapeutic modalities available
  • It has no side effects and few contraindications
  • Most people can learn to apply it themselves

The physical benefits of kinesiology tape include:

Pain Relief

Although it contains no medications or topical substances, kinesiology tape can effectively relieve both acute and chronic pain. Its elasticity lifts the skin slightly, which immediately reduces pressure on sensitive pain receptors under the skin. In addition, its stimulating effect on pain pathways provides a competitive stimulus that blocks pain signals going to the brain. This is especially effective for pain from “hot” injuries, where the intensity of the pain is out of proportion to the severity of the injury.

Reduced Swelling and Inflammation

Reduced pressure on the lymphatic drainage channels enhances removal of fluids and other materials that collect in an injured area. This applies not only to sports injuries, but also to post-surgical recovery and other inflammatory conditions, including lymphedema (severe swelling of the extremities.)

Accelerated Recovery from Bruises and Contusions

One of the most dramatic effects of kinesiology taping is the removal of blood that accululates under the skin due to bruising. The k-tape is applied in a fan pattern over the bruised area and the bruising is dissipated via the same lifting mechanism described above. Within a couple of days a distinct fan pattern can be seen where the tape was applied over a bruised area.

Prevents and/or Relieves Muscle Spasms and Cramping

Enhanced circulation improves delivery of oxygen and nutrients to overused or fatigued muscles, helping to prevent or relieve spasms and cramps.

Speedier Recovery of Overused Muscles

Fatigued, overused muscles contain byproducts of exercise (such as lactic acid) that contribute to pain and stiffness and limit the ability to continue exercising. When kinesiology tape is used over these areas, enhanced removal of these byproducts allows for more rapid recovery. Combined with improved delivery of oxygen via enhanced bloodflow, this could translate into improved performance in an endurance event or more complete recovery between repetitive, high intensity events.

Supports Injured Muscles and Joints without Restricting Range of Motion

The unique elastic properties and application techniques of kinesiology tape allow it to provide support to injured muscles or joints without restricting range of motion.

Allows Athletes to Remain Active while Injured

This is one of the most important benefits of kinesiology taping for competitive athletes. Depending on how it is applied, kinesiology tape can prevent either overstretching or over-contraction of injured muscles. When combined with its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, this can allow athletes to continue training and/or competing as their injuries heal.

Enhances Strength and Muscle Tone in Weak or Poorly-Toned Muscles

Certain neurological or muscular disorders can make muscles so weak that it is almost impossible to do the exercises that are critical to improve daily functioning. Kinesiology tape not only provides support to these muscles, but it can also improve muscle activation, allowing therapeutic exercises to be carried out more effectively. One of the major uses in this category is with infants and young children with hypotonia, poor muscle tone that limits their ability to learn to sit up, crawl, etc. A simple application of kinesiology tape can improve posture and assist in mobility.

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Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape has a comprehensive array of therapeutic benefits. Because kinesiology taping can usually be left on for several days or up to a week, these therapeutic benefits are available to the injured area 24 hours a day, significantly accelerating the healing process from trauma, injuries and inflammatory conditions.

Benefits of Kinesiology Taping

Pain Relief via Structural Support for Weak or Injured Body Parts

Kinesiology tape is a flexible elastic tape that moves with your body. This provides supports to your body parts without the tape slipping.

By supporting your body part kinesiology tape is able to provide you with pain relief and muscular support to help control body parts affected by muscle inhibition.

Muscle Support

As previously mentioned, your muscle strength may be assisted by kinesiology tape via physical assistance and tactile feedback through the skin eg proprioception boost. This phenomenon may assist both the able bodied athlete to enhance their performance and hypotonic eg children with low muscle tone.

Swelling Reduction

Kinesiology provides a passive lift to your skin via its elastic properties. This vacuum effect allows your lymphatic and venous drainage systems to drain and swollen or bruised tissue quicker than without the kinesiology tape.

It is also thought that this same principle can assist the removal of exercise byproducts like lactic acid that may contribute to post-exercise soreness eg delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

More Information about Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology Taping

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  • Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
  • How is Kinesiology Tape Different from Conventional Strapping Tape?
  • Kinesiology Tape May Help…
  • Benefits of Kinesiology Taping
  • Can Kinesiology Taping Reduce Your Swelling and Bruising?
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    Athletic tape is usually used to create support around a joint, he says, which actually restricts motion. Kinesio tape, on the other hand, can actually stretch up to 40 percent of its original length while retaining its elasticity, which is what allows it to provide support without hindering your body’s movements.

    How Kinesiology Tape Works

    Kinesiology tape works—when applied correctly—by lifting the skin from the tissues below it. Everyone has nerve receptors in their skin, as well as in the deep layers of the fascia, muscles, and other connective tissues, Wickham says. “When tape is applied, it causes compression or decompression of these areas, supposedly allowing it to alter pain signals to the brain,” he says.

    It’s the tape’s elasticity that matters most. “We can use more tension to turn on or excite a muscle,” says Kellen Scantlebury, a physical therapist and owner of Fit Club Physical Therapy and Sports Performance. For example: If someone gets surgery to repair their ACL, their quad will likely be weak. Taping the quad with maximum tension, he explains, brings those muscle fibers together, essentially causing a contraction (which is what strengthens your muscles). On the flip side, if someone has plantar fasciitis and is experiencing a lot of tightness in their calves, taping with limited tension can turn “off” the muscle so the person isn’t receiving pain signals, he explains.
    Surprisingly, there’s actually not a whole lot of evidence that kinesiology tape really does reduce swelling and pain and increase muscle function, as it claims. One meta-analysis found that it may have a small beneficial role in improving strength and range of motion but further studies are needed to confirm these findings. A more recent experiment found that kinesiology tape may just have a placebo effect (one that does work, though), which many athletes will swear by.

    That said, it sounds like a miracle cure for running injuries, but you don’t want to use kinesiology tape as a crutch.

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    “When I first work with someone, I have them wear the tape while they’re exercising, while they’re doing day-to-day activities, whatever,” says Scantlebury. The tape typically lasts for three to five days, even if you shower or swim with it, and the constant wear is to re-educate the body to perform in a more optimal way. “You want the tape to give that consistent feedback over a sustained period of time so the body becomes aware that this is now the new normal,” he says. But after one wear, if your muscles are doing what you want, there’s no need to reapply; you don’t want your muscles to rely on the tape to do their job. If they’re still not doing what you want them to do, you can try again with the tape (but wait a few days to give your skin time to breathe).

    What Kinesio Tape Is Used For

    “Depending on the way kinesiology tape is applied, it can be used for a variety of different things including, but not limited to, muscle inhibition/facilitation, pain relief, decreasing swelling, proprioceptive stability (helping your muscles provide stability while still allowing for motion), and tissue decompression,” Lou says.

    For runners, there are a few common pain issues that kinesiology tape can treat. If you’re experiencing any of these issues and think kinesiology tape could help, head to a professional before you unravel your first roll. “It looks easy, but you don’t want to be turning on or exciting a muscle that’s already overactive or turning off a muscle that’s already underactive,” says Scantlebury. “Over time, that can cause even more damage. Getting some education from a licensed professional is tremendously valuable.”

    Visit kinesiotaping.com to find a Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (CKTP) in your area. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can easily reapply it on your own if it starts peeling or if an old issue pops back up.

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    Shin Splints: This kind of pain happens when you overload the muscles in the front of your shin, causing inflammation in the muscle, tendon, and bone. Tape from just below the outside of your knee to just beneath the base of your big toe, then tape additional strips the length of the full width of your shin laterally over your pain points.

    Knee Pain: One of the most common issues for runners, knee pain typically stems from imbalances or weak glutes. Anchor two strips on the quad muscle and then run them down the right and left of the knee cap to create a teardrop shape, Wickham says. Then place one strip running across the other two below the knee cap.

    Plantar Fasciitis: This occurs when you overload the connective tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes, resulting in heel pain. Tape on strip down the bottom of the foot, the another strip crossing the first on the arch area of the bottom of the foot, Wickham says.

    Achilles Tendon Pain: Too much stress can tighten and overwork the large tendon connecting the two major calf muscles—the gastrocnemius and soleus—to the back of the heel bone. Tape one strip starting at the mid-calf down to the bottom of the foot, then cross another strip over the back of the heel/ankle, Wickham says.

    General Muscle Pain: If you’re experiencing general soreness or want more support for a muscle, you can use two strips (or cut one strip into a “Y” shape) to border the area, Lou says.

    Swelling: If you rolled or tweaked a joint, and it is inflamed, cut small projections off the anchor point of the tape (so it looks like an octopus) and lay it with no stretch over the swollen area,” Lou says.

    What Kind of Tape Should You Use?

    There are plenty of kinesiology tape options out there, and what you use tends to be a matter of personal preference. One good rule of thumb: Synthetic tapes tend to be more supportive over longer periods (think: a marathon), while cotton tapes are softer and a little less supportive.

    Whichever one you go with, make sure to wipe the area you’re going to tape with alcohol before applying to remove dirt or grit that could mess with the adherence. And when you take it off, “don’t rip it off like a Band-Aid, which can leave a scar,” Scantlebury says. “Instead, push the skin away from the tape instead of peeling the tape from the skin.”

    Kinesio Tex Classic shopkinesio.com $9.99

    This is the OG kinesiology tape on the market. The high-grade, 100 percent cotton tape is especially good for sensitive skin.

    RockTape Kinesiology Tape amazon.com $19.00

    Made from 97 percent cotton and 3 percent nylon, RockTape has 180 percent stretch. Plus, it’s made for extreme environments (and water-resistant), which means it really sticks to your skin.

    KT Tape Pro Kinesiology Tape amazon.com $15.90

    This uber-popular tape is made from 100 percent synthetic materials, but it’s still moisture-wicking and breathable.

    StrengthTape Kinesiology Tape amazon.com

    You can buy StrengthTape—a water-resistant cotton and spandex blend—in pre-cut kits for specific body parts so you don’t have to worry about DIY sizing and cutting.

    Ashley Mateo Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more.

    WHAT IS THE KINESIO TAPING METHOD?

    The Kinesio Taping® Method is a definitive rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion as well as providing extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting. Latex-free and wearable for days at a time, Kinesio® Tex Tape is safe for populations ranging from pediatric to geriatric, and successfully treats a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological and other medical conditions. The Kinesio® Taping Method is a therapeutic taping technique not only offering your patient the support they are looking for, but also rehabilitating the affected condition as well. By targeting different receptors within the somatosensory system, Kinesio® Tex Tape alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. This lifting affect forms convolutions in the skin thus increasing interstitial space and allowing for a decrease in inflammation of the affected areas.

    Based upon years of clinical use, Kinesio® Tex Tape is specifically applied to the patient based upon their needs after evaluation. The findings of the clinical evaluation or assessment dictate the specifics of the Kinesio® Tex Tape application and other possible treatments or modalities. With the utilization of single “I” strips or modifications in the shape of an “X”, “Y” or other specialized shapes as well as the direction and amount of stretch placed on the tape at time of application, Kinesio® Tex Tape can be applied in hundreds of ways and has the ability to re-educate the neuromuscular system, reduce pain and inflammation, optimize performance, prevent injury and promote good circulation and healing, and assist in returning the body to homeostasis.

    The Kinesio Benefit
    Evaluation and assessment are key in the treatment of any clinical condition. In order to get the desired results from a Kinesio Tex Tape application as well as any other treatment, a full assessment of your patient is necessary. In some cases, the treatment of a condition may require treatment of other underlying conditions as well. This assessment should include manual muscle testing, range of motion testing, gait assessment, and any other orthopedic special tests that you deem necessary. The information gained from these assessments will allow for the proper treatment protocol to be laid out. Kinesio Tex Tape can be a valuable addition to this protocol. It has been proven to have positive physiological effects on the skin, lymphatic and circulatory system, fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. It can be used in conjunction with a multitude of other treatments and modalities within your clinic and is effective during the rehabilitative and chronic phases on an injury as well as being used for preventative measures.

    What is Kinesiology Tape?

    Kinesiology taping (or kinesio taping) is the application of 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 restriction of movement.

    You would have noticed that more and more professional athletes use kinesiology taping to improve their sporting performance. As physiotherapists, we use kinesiology taping in the clinic every day to assist muscles and their interaction with your body. Not only does this potentially provide pain-free movement, but it also assists your physiotherapist to determine which muscles or joints require additional control. They can then prescribe the best exercises for your body. For advice whether kinesiology tape is suitable for you, please consult your physiotherapist.

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    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. Rigid strapping can only be worn for short periods of time, after which they must be removed to restore movement and circulation.

    Kinesiology tape differs. It has unique elastic properties that allow the kinesiology tape to provide dynamic support. This provides an almost second layer of support that may assist weaker muscles. Plus, due to its elastic properties, kinesiology tape allows full motion of your body parts, to allow near-normal range of motion.

    Kinesiology tape can be worn during intense exercise, in the shower or even swimming. This 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. Because it can be left on for several days, these therapeutic benefits are available to the injured area 24-hours a day.

    1. Pain Relief

    Kinesiology taping is thought to relieve pain through different mechanisms. These could be grouped as either physical or neurological mechanisms.

    • Physically, the lifting action of the kinesiology tape may help to relieve pressure on pain receptors directly under the skin. This may provide both short and medium-term pain relief.

    • Chronic pain could be improved via sensory stimulation of some nerve fibres.

    2. Swelling Reduction

    • By lifting this skin, kinesiology taping is thought to provide 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 the same physical lifting principle, kinesiology taping may be effective 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, which could assist muscle performance, reduce fatigue, cramps and DOMS.

    6. Assists Weak or Injured Muscles

    • Kinesiology tape may provide both physical and neurological support for your dynamic structures such as muscles. This may assist everyday activities, high-level sport or potentially low tone children.

    7. Quicker Return to Sport, Work and Play

    • By supporting weak or painful structures, kinesiology tape may allow injured athletes, workers and weekend warriors to return to sport, work or play quicker that without kinesiology tape’s unique dynamic support.

    Kinesiology Tape

    Buy Kinesiology Tape

  • Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
  • How is Kinesiology Tape Different from Conventional Strapping Tape?
  • Kinesiology Tape May Help…
  • Benefits of Kinesiology Taping
  • Can Kinesiology Taping Reduce Your Swelling and Bruising?
  • Related Information

  • Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
  • Brace or Support
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Workout tape for injuries

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