What is Kinesiotape?
We are often asked why kinesiotape is used by physiotherapists for management of musckuloskeletal injuries.
You've seen it placed all over the bodies of elite and non elite Athletes alike but what is it and why is it used ?
It can be described as a rehabilitative taping technique 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. Additionally used to then help prolong the benefits of manual therapy techniques and the rehabilitation of injuries.
What is it?
The tape is made of tightly woven elasticated cotton (97%) and nylon (3%) fibres.The glue on the tape is acrylic, highly durable and waterproof so tape can be worn for up to a week withstanding vigorous movement, sweat and total emersion in water. Cheap tapes come of easily, resist water poorly and irritate the skin. For this reason at Hindmarsh and Fitzroy Physiotherapy we only use the original Kinesiotape- Kinesio gold
When applied in a correct manner the tape aims to improve various positive changes including less pain, improved function, more power, better muscular endurance.
What its not
The tape does not contain any medication or drugs. Different colours are cosmetic only, all colours of tape have the same elasticity and therefore benefits. We do find the black does not seem to adhere as long. The tape is not a replacement for sensible injury management and thorough rehab. It is an adjunct to your pain and injury management and rehabilitation.
What will it do for me?
Kinesiology tape is commonly used clinically to try and achieve the following:
- Reduce pain
- Drain swelling
- Improve posture
- Improve function
- Facilitate early return to activity or sport
- Improve sporting performance.
Although still in its infancy, there are very encouraging signs from research studies and a body of independent academic research is growing to support the positive effects of tape.
How does it work?
Nobody is 100% sure how it works. Fundamentally the tape causes a form of decompression between the skin and the tissue underneath.
This decompression of the skin and underlying tissue leads to proposed 3 main effects:
This decompression promotes improved blood and lymphatic flow into and out of the taped area. This allows the more rapid removal of injury waste products and pain generating chemicals, and promotes healing.
The tape has longitudinal stretch properties of about 140-180%. This helps the body’s stabilisation system by adding a little extra stability, spring and awareness of stretch to muscles, ligaments, tendons joints etc. It may also have a role in restoring normal slide and glide mechanics between layers of tissue.
The presence of tape on the skin helps to create a non-painful stimulus from the area and this may make it more difficult to feel pain in that area. The de-compressive properties of the tape reduce pressure and compression on nerve endings just under the skin making them fire less. When the tape is placed over really tight muscles seems to reduce the response to being stretched, making them feel less tight and sore. Tape placed over weak, sore and injured tissue will act to aid the bodies ‘active’ stabilisation by altering the activity and feedback from nerves in the skin and underlying tissue.
Who can use it?
Kinesiology tape can be worn by almost anyone from children to the elderly. It can be used to help almost any pain or dysfunction being caused by the bodies’ musculo-skeletal system. Simple applications are fairly straightforward and easy enough to make a success of with self-application. Although the glue is tough and durable the tape can be removed with very little discomfort and leaves no residue on the skin. Because the glue is acrylic it contains no latex so can be used by those allergic to most other tapes.
Very occasionally it can cause an allergic skin reaction. If too much tension is placed on the ends of the tape it can irritate and inflame the skin. Gels or creams should not be used underneath.
Please speak with our Physios for more information regarding the suitability and application of kinesiotape and if it would be a suitable addition to your musculoskeletal problem. if you are interested in the most common sporting injuries- heres a free download of our E- Book on the most common sporting injuries we see and tips on management.Common Sports Injuries