Kinesio taping has become increasingly accepted in recent years as a viable alternative for the treatment of many sports, recreational and occupational injuries. Kinesio tape is particularly recommended for the treatment of repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome as well as delayed onset muscle soreness affecting athletes after a prolonged session of training or competition. We set out below three of the most commonly encountered questions about this taping technique, as well as the corresponding answers.
What Is Kinesio Tape?
Kinesio Tape is the original elastic adhesive tape used by athletes to prevent and treat small injuries as well as to improve performance. Kinesio was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1979 and spawned the general use of similar athletic taping techniques for athletes around the world.
Kinesio Tape is a latex-free, hypoallergenic, multi-use orthopaedic support. It is used by a full range of active individuals, from elite athletes to weekend warriors, seniors and pediatric patients, for a variety of reasons, including reducing pain from an injury, injury rehabilitation, added support for a recent and recovering injury, injury prevention, and improved performance and training.
Kinesio Tape has some general characteristics that include being water-resistant, allowing for full range of motion and providing tension and compression therapy. Its water resistant property allows it to be worn for periods of up to 5 days or even more. This in turn improves the effectiveness of the treatment.
How Does Kinesio Taping Work?
One of the most common benefits of Kinesio taping is that it helps alleviate pain and discomfort in athletes struggling with a recent or chronic injury. Kinesio taping facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. This lifting affect forms convolutions in the skin, which increases interstitial space and helps decrease inflammation in the affected areas. This reduces pressure around the joint, ligament or muscle and enables a more effective flow of blood and lymphatic fluid in and out of the target area.
Kinesio Tape can also be applied to re-educate the neuromuscular system, which helps athletes correct any number of bad habits that may lead to an injury or inefficient performance, such as bad form, consistent stress on certain areas of the body and the non-uniformity of bodily movements during competition and training. Kinesio taping, if done right, can assist in training the body to work in harmony and promote good circulation, leading to maximum performance and healthier, more injury-resistant muscles, joints and ligament.
Athletes and other individuals in need of the benefits that Kinesio Tape can provide are evaluated and trained to apply the tape based on their specific needs. Kinesio Tape can be applied hundreds of different ways, mainly in the form of single “I” strips or “X” and “Y” shapes, with dozens of special modifications possible. Kinesio taping is highly customizable and the pressure applied, length of the tape, quantity used and other such elements can be changed based on the requirements dictated by the circumstance.
When Should I Use Kinesio Taping?
A variety of individuals can benefit from the use of Kinesio Tape for a wide range of reasons, including athletes, seniors and people in specific, labour-intensive careers.
Kinesio Taping For Athletes
For athletes, Kinesio taping is one of the most ideal orthopaedic support to utilize when recovering from injuries, specifically acute soft tissue injuries, such as muscle strains, ligament sprains, bruising or haematoma and muscle facilitation. Runners in particular have found Kinesio Tape to great benefit them and prevent common ailments such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints. Athletes can also use Kinesio tape when training to ease the effects of delayed onset muscle muscle soreness (DOMS) and to hone muscle movement and coordination (joint and muscle proprioception), which great increases training efficiency. This is particularly useful when weight training and/or practicing for sports where form and technique are paramount, such as in basketball, baseball, golf or tennis.
Kinesio Taping For Seniors
Seniors and older adults are another group of individuals who can benefit immensely from the use of Kinesio taping. Older adults have a higher risk of developing health conditions such as tendonitis, tendonosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Applying Kinesio Tape to the areas affected by these ailments will help to increase blood flow through the joints, muscles and ligaments, reducing the painful effects. Kinesio taping can also help seniors be more mobile for longer as it helps facilitate coordinated movement between different elements of the body. This is crucial to helping older adults maintain an active lifestyle into their later years, which in turn greatly reduces the risk of other health concerns, such as falls, broken bones and stress fractures.
Kinesio Taping For Occupational Injuries
Finally, Kinesio taping can offer support to workers in certain careers and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay safe and reduce the effects of some on-the-job health issues. Kinesio tape can be used by anyone who has a job requiring repetitive movements, which can cause pain due to inflammation and overuse. This can include construction workers, landscapers, mechanics, miners, and other careers that are similar. People who work at a desk and spend many hours hunched over, or those who live a mostly sedentary lifestyle, can also use Kinesio Tape. These jobs or lifestyles can often lead to back or neck pain and Kinesio taping alleviates these symptoms.
For more information on this subject, including a comparison of Kinesio taping with the more traditional approach to athletic taping, we recommend our post describing the history of this new taping method and the principles underlying it.