After suffering from Achilles tendonitis for some time, I tried Kinesio Tape. I was trying many different therapy techniques to help resolve my issue. I had seen many athletes who were competing at a very high level, specifically in the Olympics using this tape. Strips of bright colored tape on arms, legs, and torsos.
The tape is called Kinesio tape or Kinesiology tape. Many athletes and regular folks like you and me believe it has therapeutic effects. I personally believe it helps when my achilles tendonits flares up. It is easy to apply and is fairly affordable.
What is Kinesio Tape?
The tape was invented by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in the 1970s. The U.K. web site for Kinesio tape claims it can alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, relax muscles, enhance performance, and help with rehabilitation as well as supporting muscles during a sporting event.
The Kinesio Benefit
In order to get the desired results from a Kinesio Tape application, as well as any other treatment, a full assessment is necessary. In some cases, the treatment of a condition may require treatment of other underlying conditions as well.
Kinesio Tape has been known to help with many for the following:
- Pain Relief
- Reduced Swelling and Inflammation
- Accelerated Recovery from Bruises and Contusions
- Prevents or Relieves Muscle Spasms and Cramping
- Speedy Recovery of Overused Muscles
- Support Injured Muscles and Joints without Restricting Range of Motion
- Allows you remain active while injured
- Enhances Strenght and Muscle Tone in Weak or Poorly Toned Muscles
How Does Kinesiology Tape Work
Check out the video below on how the tape works.
Kinesio tape is designed to run with the contours of the skin, and it allows for the movement of lymphatic fluid. It also reduces the friction between tissues of the skin. It also helps with the movement of blood and lactic acid. I can also take the tension off of muscles. The elasticity of the tape lifts the skin very slightly to allow better circulation.
Types of Tape
There are several different types of Kinesio Tape. They come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. They provide options for all body sizes, skin types, injuries, and health conditions. They are also available for the inexperienced home user, like me, to trained health professionals. Kinesio Tape is broken up into these categories:
- Uncut Rolls – they come in a wide variety of lengths and widths and are very economical option. These are mostly used in the healthcare settings.
- Precut Strips – they were designed to reduce the amount of time and cutting necessary to create the most commonly used applications. Some now come in serrated rolls allowing the strips to be easily torn off and applied. I have used Precut Strips exclusively.
- Precut Applications for Specific Body Parts – they are designed for specific parts of the body. They require no cutting, measuring, or design. They are great for inexperienced users.
Application of the KT Tape
KT Tape can be applied to many areas of the body to address a wide range of issues. Check out the following link on KT Tape’s website for many of the different options of applying the KT Tape.
Healthcare professionals have been teaching patients for years how to apply kinesiology tape themselves. Don’t be afraid to jump in and just go for it the first time you try and tape yourself. It generally takes 3 or 4 times to get comfortable with taping before you’ll be taping like the pros. Here are a few tips that will help:
- Make sure the skin is clean and dry, free from lotions/oils (suntan lotion, skin conditioner, topical treatments, etc). Play it safe just clean the skin with rubbing alcohol before applying.
- If applying KT Tape on a joint, be sure the joint is in a fully bent position. If the tape is applied over a knee or elbow in an extended position the tape will pull off as the joint is moved.
- Never stretch the first or the last of the tape on either end. The tape on the ends should be applied directly to the skin without stretching, otherwise, it will pull up and will not stick.
- Lastly, be sure to set the adhesive by firmly rubbing the tape & make sure all the edges are down. For best results apply the tape 30 minutes before athletic activity.
There has not been conclusive scientific or medical evidence to confirm the effectiveness of the tape. Studies published in the Journal of Sports Medicine report:
- No clinically important results were found to support the tape’s use for pain relief.
- There were inconsistent range-of-motion results.
- Seven outcomes relating to strength were beneficial.
- The tape had some substantial effects on muscle activity, but it was not clear whether these changes were beneficial or harmful.
The studies concluded there was little quality evidence to support the use of Kinesio tape over other types of elastic taping to manage or prevent sports injuries.
Some experts have suggested there may be a placebo effect in using the tape, with athletes believing it will be helpful.
Does it Help?
The list of benefits is so extensive and so varied it has been labeled “magic tape”. It is one of the most widely used therapies in both athletic and healthcare settings. Kinesio Tape is effective on its own but can be combined with other therapies. It can be worn around the clock for several days. It is one of the least expensive but therapeutic therapies available. It also has no side effects and most people can learn to apply it themselves.
So in my opinion and in my own personal experience, it does help. If you are having any type of pain that you think might require the use of Kinesio Tape, it is important to see a doctor for a checkup. You deserve to feel better and get back to your day-to-day activities. With the right care and treatment plan, you will be back on health feet in no time. All those Olympic and professional athletes can’t be wrong, can they?