Kinesiology tape is an alternative rehabilitative technique for strained or achy muscles associated with high levels of physical activity. Also known as elastic therapeutic tape, this method expedites natural healing of the body while simultaneously providing support to the area and maintaining a wide range of motion.
Common brands, like Kinesio Tape, are latex-free and can be worn for multiple days. According to the company’s website, this form of healing can alleviate pain and facilitate lymphatic drainage by lifting the skin microscopically, which allows a decrease in inflammation in the affected area.
For the tape to be applied correctly and to successfully benefit the patient, a full clinical evaluation is needed to decide the best application method. This includes muscle, range of motion, and gait testing. The company goes on to describe that the tape can be placed on the body in hundreds of ways.
Optimizing performance, reducing pain and inflammation, promoting circulation, and preventing further injury are only a few benefits that kinesiology tape offers the body. It is basically trying to return the body back to complete homeostasis, according to the company’s website.
According to a tape expert of TheraTape, kinesiology tape is not recommended for treating serious injuries because of the elastic quality of the tape, and of course it will not provide enough structure to stabilize something like a broken bone.
Although it may seem like a complex network of tapes that can go any which way on the body, the application of kinesiology tape can be pretty straightforward.
Prepare the muscle for the tape by stretching it to the max. Make sure to allow enough time for the injured area to be properly stretched out. After this the area should remain in that position for the duration of the tape application.
Place the decompression strips over the most painful areas. Depending on the location, the tape can be placed horizontally or vertically. Ensure that the strip is also fully stretched out before applying it to the area.
Apply stabilizing strips around the boundary of the wrapped area. This is meant to provide the support for the injured area and still provide a full range of motion.
Whether treating a sprain or pulled muscle, it is important during recovery to keep the injured body part lithe while still providing support. This combination allows the best method of healing. Kinesiology taping can provide that method of healing. Remember that any form of taping is not recommended for serious injuries, but can be excellent in helping heal and alleviate pain from a common injury from physical activities. Tapes can be found in your local stores or online. Do your research on what brand and types of tape you need for the area of pain before anything else.
Taping Patterns for Different Areas of the Body
• Two lines of tape going down both sides of the spine
• An X pattern at the base of the spine
• An H going up the length of the spine
• An upside down V shape starting at the nape of the neck and ending at the shoulder blades
• Two bands of tape go- ing up either side of the abdominal wall
• A V shape going up the side of the body
• A taped circle surrounding the knee that continues up the front of the thigh
• A V shape that starts behind the knee and continues up to end on the sides of the thigh
• X shapes on the forearms and biceps
• One band going up the length of the entire arm or upper/lower
• Tape an oval shape around the shoulder
Written by: Alex Dunn