What is that brightly colored tape covering athletes
at your favorite sporting event?
Thanks to the 2008 Olympic games, Kinesio tape
became a household name. Previously, just
purchased through athletic trainer or physical
therapist suppliers, you can now buy this product
on the shelves at your local drug store.
This elastic tape is made of cotton and nylon fibers.
It is used to support damaged or otherwise
compromised soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and
It’s many uses and benefits include:
- pain reduction
- improved circulation
- decreased local inflammation
- aid to recovery
- improved movement patterns
The Biggest Myth About Kinesio Tape.
Despite, the many devoted athletes that swear by
Kinesio Tape, many believe there is little evidence
to support it’s use. It is true that the jury still may
be out if you look at the research. One study
showed little evidence in improved strength ROM
when used in uninjured athletes for the purpose
However, you can look to several other studies
that support it’s use. The following studies found
significant benefit when kinesio tape was
combined with a physical therapy guided exercise
1. One study found this combination as effective
in both pain reduction and return to functional
activities as a steroid injection in types of shoulder
2. A recent study showed improvement of hand
function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
3. When used with low back pain patient’s, there
was a decrease in pain medication use
4. In weeks 1-4 following a knee replacement
surgery, patient’s using tape showed decreased
edema, less pain, and improved knee extension.
Some argue, the benefits are a result of the placebo
effect. Maybe so.
However, with a concoction of research based
evidence and anecdotal feedback from our clients
we believe there is a true benefit. Add on my
personal experience and I am sold.
The Magic of Kinesio Tape.
The manufacturer of one brand of kinesio tape
explain 3 main effects that make it amazing:
1. Fluid – it changes lymphatic and blood flow
to help heal tissue
2. Mechanical – it improves glide between
tissue layers for better movement
3. Neurological – it alters the pain perception
and improves body awareness
One of the benefits I appreciate is that it can
work around the clock for several days. When
you leave the clinic, we can’t go with you.
However, the kinesio tape can. It can continue
to remind you of your posture, cue you to
correct dysfunctional patterns, and ease the
pain of sore structures.
Your pain pill can’t do all that!
However, IT IS NOT MAGIC!
Most importantly, it is an adjunct to not a
replacement for the appropriate rehab your
The Youtube Fame of Kinesio Tape.
Yes you can buy kinesio tape on Amazon, have
it delivered to your door in 2 business days, and
watch youtube videos on how on to apply it
according to your injury. It really isn’t hard to
I agree that kinesio tape can be correctly applied
on your own, or with the help of a partner for
hard to reach areas. But first, I believe you need
to be instructed by a trained professional.
See, the amount of pull, direction of pull, length,
and location of the tape is very specific to the
required outcome Other factors for application
include your body type, the activities you
participate in, and the true source of your injury.
True, your knee may be hurting and Youtube
can tell you how to tape your knee. But, if the
true source of your knee pain is a problem at
your hip, that is where the tape may need to be
As a therapist, we apply our knowledge of the
anatomy of muscles and fibers to facilitate the
appropriate healing process. We can then
provide you with the instruction on how to do
it yourself if it is something you will continue to
Although there are no real negative side effects
to this taping technique, if applied incorrectly it
can cause more harm than good. In addition,
always be careful not to place tape on an open
wound or infection.
Also, avoid it if you have a previous adverse
reaction to adhesives, peripheral neuropathy or
“numb” areas, or have very thin fragile skin.
Your therapist will evaluate the integrity of your
skin prior to application.
Since there are no harmful medications or
challenging movements required to participate,
my personal favorite use of kinesio tape is
during pregnancy and nursing.
It can have significant benefits on shoulder,
back, and pelvic pain as well as providing support
and positioning needed for comfort during the
last tough weeks of pregnancy.
In conclusion, Kinesio Tape does have it’s place
in rehab and athletic training. Not a cure all, but
one technique to you get back in the game (or life)
Sporting Kinesio Tape, post a pic on Facebook
and tag us Peak Potential Physiotherapy &
Wellness. If you think taping techniques may
benefit you, request a call from our staff HERE.