If you’ve watched any professional sporting event in recent years, you’ve likely seen it. Long strips of often colorful tape running along or criss-crossed over areas of an athlete’s body. With the benefits of Kinesiology taping becoming more well-known, it’s no surprise that more healthcare professionals are using it on their patients. At Limitless Physical Therapy, we’ve been big advocates of Kinesiology Tape (or KT Tape) for quite a while. But what exactly is it? What’s the purpose of it? Keep reading and find out why it’s something we use with some patients on a regular basis.
What is Kinesiology Tape?
While Kinesiology tape has only recently seemed to come into the limelight, it was invented in the 1970’s by a Japanese chiropractor. Kinesiology tape is a flexible tape often made of cotton, spandex, and adhesive used to provide proprioceptive training, posturing, or neuromuscular reeducation for the purpose of improving body mechanics. There are many varieties of taping, including Kinesio Tape, KT Tape, Rock Tape, and others.
Not to be confused with athletic tape, which is used to restrict motion in order to create support around a joint. Kinesiology tape can actually stretch up to 40% of its original length allowing it to provide support without hindering movement.
How does Kinesiology Tape Work?
Taping can help provide support to muscles by keeping them from over-extending or over-contracting. The extra support can aid in faster recovery. It’s also believed that as the tape lifts the skin, it decompresses the layers of fascia which allows for better circulation and greater movement of white blood cells throughout the affected area as well as remove waste, cellular debris, and bacteria.
When is KT Tape Used in Treatment?
KT taping works well when an individual needs to be able to move but would benefit from more feedback; an example could be someone sitting at a desk. KT tape could be applied to their upper back to remind them of when they start to slouch. KT tape can also be used to provide support to an irritated muscle or tendon, such as a muscle strain or tendinitis.
When should it be avoided?
People with overly sensitive skin may run into issues with the adhesive used on the tapes. If the area is numb or has reduced sensation, KT taping may be avoided as well. KT tape should not be used over open wounds or areas where an infection is present or suspected.
When it comes to treating patients, physical therapists have an arsenal of tools at their fingertips. In addition to physical movements, exercises, and stretches, your physical therapist may recommend other treatments and/or tools that will aid in recovery. Each of the physical therapy tools we will explore in this series have different purposes. It’s always best to consult with your health care professional before trying any of these treatments on your own.
***The above information, including text, images, and all other materials, is provided for educational purposes only, and not as a replacement or supplement to professional medical advice. Please contact a certified healthcare professional or your primary physician for any personal concerns.