By Bene Hanquet, MPT, Clinic Manager of ApexNetwork Physical Therapy Frontenac, MO

Do you remember watching the excitement of the 2012 summer Olympic games and watching the famous volleyball matches with Kerry Walsh and partner Misty May-Treanor?  If so, you might also remember that funny looking tape Kerry wore during the games, which later showed up on many of the track athletes and swimmers.  What was that?

kinesiologyPhoto courtesy of www.kinesiotaping.com

The bright blue, pink, and black tape you saw in the Olympic Games, and more recently even on some NFL players, is called Kinesio tape, and it’s nothing new. This type of taping has been around for decades, and was first developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in the 1970s as a new approach for facilitating the body’s natural healing process.

Commonly used as an adjunct for treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries, kinesiology tape is used to treat assorted orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological and medical conditions. It can be applied in a variety of patterns depending on the patient’s injury and provides stability to both joints and muscles so that pain and inflammation are reduced, tired muscles are relaxed and consistently moving muscles are supported.

Standard athletic taping, meanwhile, is designed to restrict the movement of the affected muscles and joints by wrapping a joint and obstructing the flow of bodily fluids. This is why standard tape is used only during sporting events and activities, whereas kinesiology tape—which facilitates normal biomechanics— is usually worn for 2 to 5 days.

Kinesiology tape, also known as elastic therapeutic sport tape, is a cotton strip that has an acrylic adhesive used to treat athletic injuries and physical disorders. Mimicking the qualities of human skin, kinesiology tape is applied and pulled to different degrees of tension depending on the desired effect and end result.

This non-restrictive taping technique facilitates full range of motion and can be used for reversing the effects of muscular facilitation or inhibition in children, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back strain/pain, knee conditions, shoulder conditions, hamstring, groin injury, rotator cuff injury, whiplash, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, patella tracking, pre- and post-surgical edema, ankle sprains and more.

Physical therapists and other health care providers use kinesiology tape to pull back a hunched-forward shoulder, decrease swelling in a joint, or create a low-pressure area for fluid to move and drain.

Kinesiology taping has a variety of therapeutic benefits, including psychological, structural, microcirculatory and neurosensory.

Not everyone can just go out and purchase a roll of kinesio tape and apply it without speaking to a medical professional first.  In order to use kinesio tape successfully, a thorough evaluation and assessment is needed from a licensed medical professional or physical therapist, and one that includes muscle testing, gait evaluation, range of motion measures, and any relevant special tests.  This will determine the proper treatment and use of kinesio tape, which will elicit a positive effect on circulation, skin, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and joints.  It is helpful to seek out a professional who has been certified in kinesio taping or has taken introductory classes on different kinesio taping methods in order to best apply the taping you need, and teach you how to apply it yourself.

Many of our therapists at ApexNetwork Physical Therapy have been formally trained in or introduced to this method of kinesio taping, and are happy to assist you in enhancing your recovery.

Resource:
Advanced for Physical Therapy and Rehab Medicine, Patient Handouts

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