What is that colorful tape everyone is wearing?

You’ve probably seen it on athletes on television. Maybe your friends and family have watched a YouTube video and tried it themselves, or your neighbor went to PT and had a couple of strips on his knee.  Have you ever wondered what it was?  Did it work or was it just a fad?

It all began with Kinesio tape®, an elastic adhesive tape that was originally developed in Japan in the 1970’s. Since, it has expanded to include more than 20 different brands of tape and counting, each with their own niche.  The Kinesio tape® brand has been the most researched, and will be the one discussed most in this article.

Kinesio tape is latex free, hypoallergenic, water-resistant, and wearable for days at a time.  Its uses and purposes vary, including muscle inhibition or facilitation, swelling reduction, pain alleviation, providing correction to some mechanical faults, and reeducating the neuromuscular system. It can do all this by targeting somatosensory receptors within the skin while creating a microscopic lift in the interstitial space, which allows improvement in circulation, reducing swelling and decreasing pain.

Kinesiotaping can be done on all populations, from pediatrics to geriatrics, and Olympic athletes to occasional recreational participants. The tape can be gentle enough on fragile skin  – with specific tape geared for that and for proper skin preparation – and tough enough to last through an intense football game into double overtime, or a long weekend hiking the Appalachian Trail.

There are a lot of resources out there regarding how to tape.  You can find instructions  included the box, and there are also numerous how-to videos on You Tube.  These instructions are usually just are general suggestions on how to tape for an issue.  For instance, the insert in the box may show one version of how to tape for knee pain, and if you go to YouTube and search “kinesiotaping for knee pain” you will get 31,100 videos, step by step instructions on Pinterest, and 241,000 Google search results.  However, the truly best way to know how to tape an injury is to talk to a professional.   A certified professional will do an assessment and decide which taping techniques are best for your individual needs.

Keep in mind that Kinesiotape alone may not fix your problem.  It is important to address the underlying issues and see a professional to get a proper diagnosis to treat the problem effectively. At Active Physical Therapy, we not only have  kinesiotape certified specialists, but every one of our therapists can address the underlying dysfunction and problems that are leading to your need for taping. Call us now for a free consultation or to set up an appointment.