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Does Kinesiology Tape Really Work?

Does Kinesiology Tape Really Work?

Certified Sports Injury Specialist

Kinesiology tape is a thin, stretchy, elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive. Therapeutic kinesiology tape can benefit a wide variety of musculoskeletal and sports injuries as well as a number of inflammatory conditions.

Kinesiology tape is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, which allows Kinesiology tape to be worn without binding, constricting or restriction of your movement. More and more professional athletes use kinesiology taping to improve their sporting performance, prevent injury and allow them to return to sport quicker.

How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?

There are multiple explanations for how Kinesiology tape works. Some experts believe kinesiology tape lifts the skin away from the muscle, allowing blood and fluids to flow more easily, promoting healing.

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.

The skin receptors are directly influenced when the tape is applied. Pain is reduced and the muscles are stimulated. Taping is like a constant massage. It supports microcirculation (nutrient exchange and cell transport through capillaries) and lymph drainage, breaks down fascial adhesions, and improves the mobility of muscles and joints.

Another explanation is that the tape supports muscles, addressing incorrect movement, which causes pain and injury. Unlike traditional taping, which straps up an injured muscle to prevent further injury, Kinesio-tape tells the muscles, and connective fibers called ‘fascia’, how to work, and encourages the athlete to move.

Benefits of Using Kinesiology Tape

Muscle Support

Correct taping can help provide support to muscles by helping the muscle to not over-extend or over-contract. Kinesiology tape is also used to add extra support to muscles or joints that need it. Clients with patellofemoral stress syndrome, IT band friction syndrome, or Achilles tendonitis, could benefit from kinesiology taping. Unlike white medical or athletic tape, kinesiology tape lets you move normally. In fact, some studies show that it can enhance movement and endurance and when used on fatigued muscles, performance improves.

Reduce Swelling

Kinesiology provides a passive lift to the skin via its elastic properties. This vacuum effect allows the lymphatic and venous drainage systems to drain swollen or bruised tissue quicker. It is also thought that this same principle can assist the removal of exercise byproducts like lactic acid that may contribute to delayed muscle soreness.

Treating Injuries

Injury specialists sometimes use kinesiology taping as one part of an overall treatment plan for clients who’ve been injured. Kinesiology taping is most effective when it’s used in conjunction with other treatments like manual therapy. Kinesiology taping can be used to mitigate pain and swelling.

Re-educating Muscles

Kinesiology tape can help retrain muscles that have lost function or that have gotten used to an unhealthy way of working. For example, kinesiology taping can be used to correct posture in your head and neck. Physical therapists think this may be because having the strange sensation of tape on your skin can make you more aware of how you’re standing or moving.

Enhancing Athletic Performance

Some athletes use kinesiology taping to help them achieve peak performance and protect against injury when they’re competing in special events. For example, many runners use kinesiology tape every time they run a marathon. The tape is often placed along the glute as a way of waking up’ the muscle and reminding it to keep working.

Reducing the Appearance of Scars

Kinesiology tape should never be applied on an open wound, but there is some scientific evidence to suggest that kinesiology tape can improve the long-term appearance of scars after surgery or injury. This use of kinesiology tape should be discussed with a professional first.

Using the Kinesio Taping Method

Neck

Localized neck problems involve burning, nagging pain around the cervical vertebrae (sometimes also radiating from the neck to the shoulders). These symptoms are often followed by limited mobility in the cervical spine. Incorrect posture at work (e.g. sitting) or sports are common causes of these problems.

Neck Taping Instructions

Knee

Do you have a stabbing pain in the outer side of your knee? It might be runner’s knee. Usually, the problems develop due to improper running technique, incorrect training, or underdeveloped muscles. Jumper’s Knee is a chronic reaction to overuse or an injury to the patellar tendon, which joins the bottom of the kneecap or patella to the shin bone.

Knee Taping Instructions

Wrist

Overuse or improper strain (e.g. during bodyweight training) can lead to pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the wrist. The tape should be attached all the way around the wrist. Make sure you do not attach it too tightly. If your fingers fall asleep or your hand turns pale, remove the tapes immediately.

Wrist Taping Instructions

Shoulder

Shoulder pain can have many different root causes but is almost associated with anterior shoulders. Muscle imbalances, notably overly strong or tight muscles in the chest and weak muscles in the back, can aggravate this issue and exacerbate poor posture.

Shoulder Taping Instructions

Continuing Your Training and Coaching Education

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There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.

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