What is Kinesiology Taping?

Have you ever suffered from an illness and injury that hinders your normal and functional mobility? 

If yes, you should consult a skilled physical therapist to treat you and help you retain your average mobility level. A physical therapist uses different modalities and exercises to treat specific problems. 

In this regard, kinesiology taping (KT) is a specific treatment mode that your physical therapist might use for mobility issues. The medicated taping involves placing strips of tape on the body in precise directions to improve mobility and movement. The tape provides necessary support to muscles, tendons, and, most important, joints.

Dr. Kenso Kase – a chiropractor, developed kinesiology tape in 1970. He used this flexible tape to harness the interface between the muscles and skin. After using this tape, Dr, Kase found that it could offer long-lasting effects on the patients. He not only developed many techniques to use kinesiology tape but also launched his brand called Kinesiotape.

If you want to learn more about Kinesiology taping, here is an overview of “Kinesiology Taping” to help you understand this therapeutic tool better.

Kinesiotape – An Overview 

(Ka knee see o) Kinesio taping typically is a flexible adhesive strip that stabilizes and supports joints, ligaments, and muscles as they contract, bend, and extend. You might have seen many athletes at sports events wearing brightly colored long strips strategically placed on their joints.

Kinesio taping doesn’t limit movement when providing support, unlike other elastic bandages. And this is one of the features that set Kinesio taping apart from other sports brands and tapes.  Kinesio taping is also referred to as an elastic therapeutic tape that can boast 40 percent elasticity. 

The tape typically uses spandex and cotton with a heat-activated adhesive that keeps it in place.  Physical therapists often use different methods and techniques of Kinesio taping to produce tension to muscles and skin. Therapists use the taping as a rehabilitative tool precisely to;

• Relive pain

• Stabilize joints

• Relax overused joints and muscles 

• Support the natural healing process of the body

• Improve sports performance

Kinesio taping is an excellent therapeutic tool to stress the muscles and joints by producing a rubber-band effect. It modifies movement to support tendons and muscles. 

Kinesio Taping- Specific Uses

Kinesio taping has numerous uses depending on the support and treatment you need. A physical therapist assesses the current situation (nature of injury) and Kinesio taping requirement to decide its best use. He/she may also teach you to cut the strips to shape them accordingly for the specific condition.  

Take a look at some specific uses of Kinesio tape; 

Facilitation: 

Your therapist may use Kinesio taping to help you improve constant contraction patterns and muscular firing. The tape can be instrumental in normalizing muscle tone and improving your athletic performance. 

Pain Management and Inhibition: 

Kinesio taping is also an effective solution to decrease muscle spasms and pain after an injury. The tape can help reduce nociceptive input that goes to the brain to minimize protective spasm and muscle guarding.

Stability and Support: 

If you suffer from an injury or have fractured your bone and need to hold a joint in place, Kinesio taping is the right solution for you. There are conditions like iliotibial band friction, shoulder instability, or patellofemoral stress that may benefit from support provided by Kinesio tape. The tape not only supports the joint but also allows it for motion.

Swelling Management:

Injuries, illnesses, and surgeries can result in increased swelling. Kinesio taping can help reduce swelling by minimizing pressure between underlying tissues and skin. Once decreased, it makes a pathway to allow excess and accumulated fluid to travel through. Kinesio taping is also useful when used for superficial confusions and lymphedema management. 

Scar Tissue Management: 

Surgery or trauma often leaves a scar over the injured area. It happens when tissues underneath the scar or injured area bind to underlying fascia and skin. These scar tissues tend to limit the range of motion and normal mobility. You can use Kinesio taping to gently pull the scar tissue and provide long duration and low-intensity stretch to the collagen that creates scar tissues. 

Re-educating Muscles: 

you can benefit from Kinesiology tape if your muscles have lost function or are used to working in an unhealthy way. For instance, taping can help improve the posture of your neck and head. A bulk of anecdotal evidence shows that Kinesiology tape may support stroke patients correct their way of walking.  

Physical therapists believe that it happens because of the strange sensation of Kinesiology tape on the skin. It makes you more aware of your movements and standing.

Treating Injuries: 

As mentioned earlier, Kinesiology tape is a physical therapy or treatment mode if you suffer an injury. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the Kinesiology tape is more effective when you use it in conjunction with treatments and manual therapy. Although Kinesiology tape mitigates swelling and pain, it can be a powerful adjunct to improve performance. 

How Kinesio Taping Works

Kinesiology taping has different functions when you apply it to the affected area. However, your physical therapist needs to perform an assessment and evaluation to determine when and how to use Kinesio taping. A therapist needs to assess if applying Kinesio taping is necessary for your condition or whether there is any contraindication to use the tape. 

It is worth mentioning that multiple theories surround the use of kinesiology tape. According to the first theory, the therapeutic tool changes the nervous system’s proprioception input in the joints, muscles, and skin.

These changes play an essential role in improving the interaction between the underlying structures and skin to aid in resetting the sensory nervous system’s circuitry. This results in enhanced activation of muscles, leading to healthy performance.   

Another theory considers kinesiology tape a great tool to inhibit pathways and nociceptors in muscles, joints, and skin structures. Reducing painful input to the nervous system can help normalize overall muscle tone. This results in decreased muscular spasm and pain.

In general, medical professionals and physical therapists believe that kinesiology tape can help strike a balance in the interconnected neurons in tendons, muscles, joints, and skin. This unique function is decreases swelling, reduces pain, and improves muscle activation and performance. 

Another study in 2017 shows that Kinesiology tape may help improve blood circulation and decrease swelling significantly. The therapeutic tool enhances the flow and circulation of lymphatic fluid in the skin. Although a large part of this fluid is water, it also contains a decent quantity of bacteria, proteins, and other chemicals. The lymphatic system is a process of regulating and fluid buildup.

When you apply Kinesiology tape, it produces an extra subcutaneous space to change your skin’s pressure gradient underneath. This change in lymphatic fluid’s pressure helps enhance its flow. Changes in the pressure allow bruises and wounds to heal faster.

It doesn’t end here; Kinesiology tape can also help realign joint position and remodel several collagen tissues, including scar tissues. 

When You Shouldn’t Use Kinesiology Tape

While having complete knowledge of when to use Kinesiology tape is essential, knowing circumstances when you shouldn’t apply is even more critical. Here we have listed some situations in which using Kinesiology tape is not suitable.

• Open Wounds. Using Kinesiology tape over a bruise or wound may lead to skin damage and infection.

• Diabetes. Many people have reduced sensation of pain in some body areas, especially diabetic. If you have the same issue, noticing a reaction to the Kinesiology tape is difficult.

• Active Cancer. People who have active cancer should avoid using Kinesiology tape as it may increase blood supply to cancerous cells, and it can be dangerous. 

• Deep Vein Thrombosis. If you have vein thrombosis, you should not increase fluid flow as it could cause blood clotting. It may be fatal.

• Allergy. Using Kinesiology tape on sensitive skin may trigger an allergic reaction.

• Lymph Node Removal. When you increase fluid where there is no lymph node, it causes swelling.

• Fragile skin. Sensitive skins are often prone to reactions and tearing. In such cases, it is better to avoid applying the tape.

Bottom Line

All in all, kinesiology tape provides safe and lasting treatment to people who want to avoid bone or joint injuries. It applies to many patient populations and works great when it comes to encouraging movement. For many people, this versatile tape serves as a versatile tool, particularly within sports. Thus, the given details include an overview of kinesiology tape, its works, and the benefits of using it. 

Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek your physician’s advice or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition.

Sources 

https://www.healthline.com/health/kinesiology-tape#contraindications

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Kinesiology_Taping

https://www.verywellhealth.com/kinesiology-tape-in-physical-therapy-2696435

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