You may have first noticed Kinesiotape during the 2008 Summer Olympics. Beach volleyball players and other athletes were sporting black, pink and blue strips of tape on their shoulders, legs, and back. Much more than a fashion statement, this tape has multiple uses including: assisting with muscle and joint function, pain management, and circulation; for conditions such as tendonitis, strains, sprains, muscle imbalances, and post-operative swelling, just to name a few.
The Kinesio Taping method was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1973. After many unsuccessful attempts to use commercially-available adhesive tapes due to its rigidity, he developed a tape that was more elastic. Kinesiotape can stretch to 130-140% of its static strength, allowing full range of motion when the muscle is placed in a gentle functional stretch during application, and can remain on the skin for up to 3-4 days before needing to be re-applied.
The Kinesio Taping® Method is a 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. Depending on the form of the tape and application technique used, the tape can cause varying effects on several body systems, from improved range of motion to better circulation. Latex-free, waterproof, comfortable, and wearable for days at a time, kinesiotape is safe for populations ranging from pediatric to geriatric, and successfully treats a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological and other medical conditions.
While providing structural support, kinesiotape also promotes circulation to an inflamed area, especially effective for treating post-operative edema (swelling). Applied using a web-like pattern, the tape lifts the skin layers just enough to create an area in the tissues just under the skin. This allows the blood and lymphatic vessels to dilate, which causes lymph fluids and pooled blood to drain away. The result is a reduction in swelling, allowing fresh blood to come in to oxygenate the tissue and promote healing. While massage can be used as a modality to promote this response, kinesiotape can be used as a bridge between sessions so that your body can continue receiving these benefits.
Evaluation and assessment are key in the treatment of any clinical condition. In order to get the desired results from kinesiotape 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. The information gained from various assessments will allow for the proper treatment protocol to be laid out. Kinesiotape can be a valuable addition to this protocol for its 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 our clinic and is effective during the acute, rehabilitative, and chronic phases of an injury as well as being used for preventative measures.
If you think you could benefit from kinesiotaping, we invite you to call us at 703.433.2500 to schedule an appointment with one of the physical therapists here at Arthritis & Sports. To stay up-to-date on the latest news and tips from us, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter by clicking below.
Kase, K., Hashimoto, T., and Okane, T. (1996) Kinesio Perfect Taping Manual. (pp.1-10).Universal Printing and Publishing, Inc.
Maruko, K. (1999). Kinesio Taping® with Aqua Therapy for Pediatric Disability Involving Neurological Impairment. 15th Annual Kinesio Taping International Symposium Review. (pp. 70-73) Tokyo, Japan: Kinesio Taping Association.
Murray, H. (2000). Kinesio Taping®, Muscle Strength and ROM after ACL Repair. Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 30, 1.
Thelan, M., Dauber, J. A., and Stoneman, P. (2008) The Clinical Efficacy of Kinesio Tape for Shoulder Pain: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Clinical Trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2008;38(7):389-395, published online 29 May 2008. doi:10.2519/jospt.2008.2791
Leibbrandt DC, Louw QA. (2015) The use of McConnell taping to correct abnormal biomechanics and muscle activation patterns in subjects with anterior knee pain: a systematic review. J Phys Ther Sci, 27(7): 2395-404.