Kinesiology tape, oftentimes shortened in the therapy world to “K-Tape,” is an assistive device that can aid some individuals in recovery from certain conditions. You may have noticed some clients wearing the tape if you’ve visited our clinic, or maybe you’re familiar with it if you’ve watched professional basketball or football, because many athletes believe it helps take their game to the next level. Below, we take a closer look at K-Tape and explain why a therapist may tape an area to help facilitate your recovery.
What Does Kinesiology Tape Do?
Kinesiology tape was first developed in the 1970s by a chiropractor named Dr. Kenso Kase, and he designed his product to be much different than the more commonly used athletic tape. K-Tape is a flexible tape that focuses on the interface between the skin and the muscle, and its goal is to help improve blood flow and decrease inflammation and swelling in a certain area. This tape moves when you move, as opposed to athletic tape that is more inflexible in an effort to prevent movement (like taping ankles to help prevent sprains). Because it is a flexible tape that helps to improve circulation in an area, many patients who suffer from swelling or inflammation say that taping helps their condition. Some common athletes and injuries that could benefit from taping include:
- The elbow and arm area of a tennis player.
- The shoulder system of a baseball player.
- The thighs of an avid runner.
- The knees or back of a volleyball player.
- The calves and ankles of those who walk or run a lot.
- Anyone experiencing bruising, swelling or inflammation.
As the last point suggests, K-Tape isn’t just for athletes. Anyone who is dealing with a condition that involves bruising, swelling or inflammation can benefit from a K-Tape regimen. For example, just look at this picture from user “quillions” on Flickr. They addressed significant bruising with a K-Tape regimen, and as you can see, the bruising has greatly decreased in the areas where the patterned taping was applied.
K-Tape also works to help improve a person’s proprioception, or their ability to recognize your body in space. Taping an area helps the brain better understand sensory inputs and recognize movement patterns, allowing us to improve joint and muscle function. The technique is also thought to help drown out pain receptors in your skin, muscles and joints.
Our physical therapists are well-versed in how K-Tape works and how to best apply it to improve circulation and lymphatic drainage. However, we also know that it is not a stand alone treatment. Movement, exercise and therapy techniques are still best for improving circulation and strengthening key areas, but taping can help to give this process a little boost. We’d be happy to tape an area if we believe it will help during your session, and we can walk you through taping techniques so you can apply the tape at home if we think it will be beneficial. It’s just another way we work to take your rehab to the next level.
So if you’re wondering if K-Tape could aid in your rehabilitation, talk to a physical therapist to see if a taping technique could be right for you. We’re here for any questions you might have!
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