What is Kinesio Taping?

kenisio

 

This past fall, during the Rio Olympics, many of the athletes could be seen wearing these multi-colored strangely configured tape jobs.  Many of the viewers at home were left wondering….what are those crazy things on the volleyball players shoulders?  And my shoulder hurts, should I be getting that done as well?

What is it and what does it do?

First let me explain a little bit about what kinesio tape is and what it does.  Kinesio Tape is a form of elastic tape that has has the ability to stretch 30-40 percent of its original length. Its a dynamic, pliable, elastic tape that can be used for several corrective therapeutic techniques.  It can be used for a variety of reasons including mechanical correction, fascial correction, Ligament/tendon correction, and even lymphatic correction.

So what does that mean for my pain you ask…well it means it can probably help in one way or another.  The primary use of kinesio tape is to help with “drawing up” or reducing inflammation.  Basically, as the tape is stretched over the skin, it draws up the superficial layers of the skin and allows for increased blood flow to the vessels underneath.  This then promotes circulation of blood/inflammation/lymph back to the heart or lymphatic drainage sites.  So if you were to have suffered an ankle sprain where you amassed a good amount of swelling.  Kinesio tape would be used in a fan like manner to decrease swelling and inflimmation.  See example below…

ankle-spain

Another very common application for kenesio taping is tendon “unloading” or “correction”.  In this form of kinesio taping the physical therapist will tape certain body parts in different ways that help relieve some of the pressure tendons have during certain movements.  A common example would be the patellar tendinitis.  If a runner comes in with “runner’s knee” or patellar tendinitis, one treatment technique that can be used is to unload the patellar tendon by adding kinesio tape.  See example below…

patellar-tendonitis

And I’ll share with you one last common use of kinesio taping, although there are several more.  Often times during musculoskeletal injuries certain muscles can become overactive or underactive.  Kinesio taping has been found to have the ability to inhibit or facilitate certain muscles dependent upon the way it is placed.  Kenesio tape that is placed from the insertion of the muscle to the origin of the muscles is said to have an “inhibitory” effect.  Where as if the tape is placed from origin of the muscle to insertion of the muscle, it is thought to have a more “facilitative” affect on the muscle.  So when you see all these different ways of taping during the Rio Olympics, often times they were trying to enhance performance by facilitating or inhibiting certain muscles.  See example below…

U.S.'s Kerri Walsh in action against Norway in a beach volleyball match  at the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008.U.S won 2-0.  (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
U.S.’s Kerri Walsh in action against Norway in a beach volleyball match at the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008.U.S won 2-0. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

At Foothills Orthopedic and Sport Therapy, we have several physical therapists who are certified in Kinesio Taping and if you think any of these taping methods may benefit you, please come in and check us out!