By Ron Handshoe, MSPT
Regional Manager, ApexNetwork PT
Have you ever wondered why elite athletes wear bright-colored or weird shapes of tape on their shoulders or legs?
Believe it or not, it’s not a fashion statement.
Rather, the athletes are using a form of athletic taping known as Kinesio Tape. This method of taping was developed in 1979 by Dr. Kenzo Kase. Research into the effects and benefits of Kinesio Taping has been continuing for the past 40 years, providing substantial findings that support its effectiveness in the clinical setting.
The first time the public was exposed to Kinesio Tape was during the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. Since then, more and more athletes have been wearing tape in all sports, amateur and professional. More importantly, Kinesio Tape has also grown in use for the non-athlete.
Kinesio Tape is a great facilitator for fascial restriction, dermal and epidermal restriction, muscle restriction, posture, joint stability, and circulatory and lymphatic dysfunction.
Taping has many benefits including helping decrease fascial restrictions, allowing the fascial tissue to move with the rest of the body; decreasing muscle tension, for example, in lower lumbar paraspinal muscles; and providing shoulder or ankle stability after an injury to a joint, tendon or ligament.
Underactive muscles can also be treated with tape to help activate the muscle needed to provide stability or improve posture. In patients who have experienced a surgical procedure, may also benefit from Kinesio Tape, which can be used to stimulate the lymphatic system, reducing postoperative swelling.
In cases of increased skin sensitivity, Kinesio Taping can reduce the pain signals created by skin sensitivity, providing another way for patients and therapists to manage complex regional pain syndromes.
Now, what exactly allows this tape to treat this wide variety of impairments?
It’s as simple as tension and direction. Adjustments in these two factors give Kinesio Taping incredible versatility, not only in the parts of the body that can be treated but also in the diagnoses in which it is useful.
When the tape is applied with no-to-little tension, it can help reduce swelling postoperatively and aid in pain reduction. When the tape is applied with high tension, it can provide support and bring stability to a joint or other body part, for example, an ankle that has received multiple sprains.
Kinesio Taping can assist patients in regaining strength and flexibility by allowing them to complete home exercise plans without fear of pain or reinjury. Kinesio Tape has been found to aid patients in their ability to perform prescribed exercises, thus maximizing their physical therapy experience.
Further, the tape will stay in place for several days, without any need to protect it from water exposure (such as in the shower or swimming). The tape will come off naturally after a few days. The Kinesio Taping technique can be used multiple times, without limit, as long as the patient is seeing and feeling benefit from its use.
The various taping approaches help to facilitate improved and quicker healing time for the patient. Quicker healing time allows the Physical Therapist to focus on strengthening, mobility, balance, range-of-motion (ROM), and other aspects of the plan of care needed to improve function and quality of life.
Since its development 40 years ago, the Kinesio Taping method has evolved and expanded and is no longer limited to elite athletes. Now common in the world of everyday athletes and ordinary people, Kinesio Taping helps people of all kinds recover more quickly and with less pain.
Kinesio Tape it has become a very versatile treatment option for many patients. The most important thing to know is that, in order to achieve maximum benefit, Kinesio Taping should be performed by a qualified physical therapist trained in its use.
If you would like to know more about Kinesio Tape and how it might benefit you, call your local ApexNetwork Physical Therapy office and schedule a free consultation.
ApexNetwork Physical Therapy locations in Kentucky:
814 Highway 36
513 Maysville Road
272 Kroger Center Drive
156 W. College Ave.