It’s hard to believe we are almost into February. It feels like NYE was just yesterday! Looking back, however, we have already had some great moments in sports with the Australian open, NFL playoffs, NBA season and many others in between. One common occurrence you may have noticed are seemingly random pieces of black or neon tape on some of these athletes. What is that and why is it there? Well great question! It may be Kinesiology tape! Also known as Kinesio tape or K tape, it is frequently used with athletes but it isn’t just for athletes. In fact, most people may benefit in different ways from proper application.
So what is it and how is it different from other tape?
Typically, Kinesio tape is made from cotton or a cotton blend that allows for some elasticity and breathability when applied to the skin. Brands may have slight variance within their blends of fabric, but overall they have the same purpose – to place tension on skin and reduce pain! This is not the same as standard athletic tape in that it will allow for more joint movement, and in most cases, will stay on the skin for longer periods of time.
How does it work? Kinesiology tape works in a variety of different ways, most commonly:
Support of muscles and joints:
Kinesio tape may be applied around a joint such as the shoulder or knee where the muscle itself is not strong enough yet to properly align the joint. When light to moderate tension is placed against the tape, the addition of slight pressure can provide support while allowing the tissue to move with the joint in normal body mechanics to prevent further injury.
Reduction of inflammation:
Kinesio tape applied with light to no stretch allows the skin to be slightly lifted from underlying tissue allowing fluid to more readily flow through the lymphatic system. This in addition to other therapeutic techniques may help to reduce swelling and therefore reduce pain in the affected site.
Tape may stay adhered to skin for multiple days providing a consistent stimulus to the person wearing it. This signaling can be used as a technique to promote proper muscle contraction or even to assist in correction of posture.
Is Kinesiotape right for me?
While not appropriate for every person, kinesio tape is a valuable tool that can further your progress in combination with physical therapy. If you have further questions regarding the use of taping techniques or want to know if it is appropriate for you, please reach out to our team.