Kinesio Taping

Kinesio Taping

Kinesio taping has become much more visible in recent years. You have likely seen athletes, gym-goers, and even pregnant women using the colorful muscle tape in strategic positions as a way of easing pressure on their joints and tendons and alleviating pain. Kinesio tape is a union of old-school pain management strategies and state-of-the-art medical technology, utilizing aspects of acupressure and strategic physical therapy by placing elastic therapeutic tape around problematic areas. The tape exudes a pulling force, allowing for a free range of motion while still providing a therapeutic pressure to the targeted area.

Using tape to wrap injured areas is not inherently new, but the use of Kinesio tape is different. Traditional bandages have long been used to provide additional support during injury recovery, Kinesio tape is the first of its kind. The acrylic adhesive component in kinesiology tape is activated by body heat, meaning that as soon as your physical therapist applies the taping system, it will begin working. Yet the cotton fibers that also comprise the material wick moisture away. That means that sweating and getting the area wet isn’t as much of an issue as it was with traditional bandages injured athletes and other patients were once given.

Kinesio Taping for Injuries and Chronic Pain

Kinesio tape is most frequently used by athletes—especially those who engage in prolonged activities. Runners especially are drawn to Kinesio taping, as the technique is incredibly low-profile and unlikely to get in the way of their running stride. However, Kinesio tape can benefit many people outside of the athletic world, and certainly stretches beyond supporting runners. Those who experience wrist pain after typing all day, or who experience back pain due to their job may also benefit from utilizing Kinesio tape.
Common conditions our trained physical therapists often treat with kinesiology taping include:
  • Back sprains and strains
  • Back pain
  • Neck aches
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Swelling or Lymphedema
  • Ankle pain and sprain
  • Sports injuries
  • Other painful syndromes
Many pregnant women are also using this method of athletic taping or kinesio taping, especially for their back, knees, and even lower abdominal muscles during the third trimester to alleviate some of the additional pressure during pregnancy. Ensure that you talk with a physical therapist for guidance before attempting to use athletic taping for any reason, but especially before taking any action for pain relief when pregnant.

What is the science behind kinesiology taping?

One of the goals of Kinesio tape is to enhance blood circulation in targeted areas, thereby reducing pain and improving recovery time following an injury. The stretch of the tape and the way it is applied will facilitate the blood circulation. The tape works by gently reinforcing the skin, pulling it away from your muscles, thereby allowing blood and other fluids to circulate more easily. The gentle pressure also cues the body to send additional blood to the taped area. This improved circulation lessens swelling and speeds healing.

Kinesio tape also works off the science of kinesiology, which is a fundamental aspect of physical therapy. The tape facilitates certain muscles and defacilitates other muscles to support injured tissue.

The taping also creates a pulling action that helps to hold problematic joints and muscles in place as you go about your daily business and routine—including engagement in any level of physical activity or exercise. It can act as a support system cradling and protecting the problem area to allow healing during rehab. Some evidence suggests that the tape’s exceptional holding abilities also help to correct misaligned muscles and ligaments.

For Kinesio tape to work effectively, the tape must be applied in strategic ways. Simply putting a bit of tape on your leg or elbow isn’t going to make much of a difference. However, when a physical therapist applies the tape in a strategic way that it is designed to follow muscle movement as you move through your day, then the tape can effectively improve healing and reduce pain.

The best taping technique changes depending on the part of the body in need of attention, the goals at hand, and the tissues to be supported.  Determining the exact placement and shaping of the kinesiology tape, along with which direction the “pull” should go, are all part of the skill needed in order to promote healing. Attempting to apply the tape yourself, without any guidance, could result in further discomfort. It is important to receive guidance and training from a physical therapist when first applying Kinesio tape.

When properly applied — and after the patient has been carefully evaluated — muscle taping often allows athletes to get back on the field. Other injured patients find their daily activities made easier, with the support of the taping holding tender areas in place and preventing pain and increased inflammation. It is a good addition to a program of manual therapy and custom therapeutic exercise.

Our expert team of physical therapists will evaluate you for the best therapies, including kinesiology taping, to target your injuries. For more information, Contact us at Dynamic Health Physical Therapy in the Avon, Simsbury, Canton, Farmington Area of CT.

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