KINESIOLOGY TAPING

KINESIOLOGY TAPE

Basically, kinesiology taping can be considered a constant massage! It supports microcirculation (transportation of nutrients through capillaries), stimulates lymphatic drainage, prevents connective tissue adhesion and improves muscle and joint mobility.

Unlike traditional rigid sports tape - which rigidly immobilizes to prevent further injury - kinesio tape directs and encourages muscle and fascia (connective tissue) movement! Kinesio tape is almost identical to human skin in terms of thickness and flexibility. Therefore, kinesiology tape can be used without restricting freedom of movement.

HOW DOES IT WORK

Nerve receptors are found both in the skin and in deeper layers such as fascia and muscles. The combination of the proper tension with which the tape is applied and the wave pattern on the inside of the high-quality kinesiology tape "lifts" the skin and frees it from the underlying muscle tissue. Decompression or relaxation of the injured muscle occurs, causing the nerve receptors to send a reduced number of pain signals to the brain.

TAPE TENSION

Tension can activate and stimulate muscles; therefore the flexibility and tension of the tape is very important:

  • When recovering from an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury, the quadriceps muscle is significantly weakened. In maximal tension "kinesio taping" the muscle fibers will be brought closer together, essentially causing the muscle to contract continuously (and thus the muscle will become stronger).
  • On the other hand, with plantar fasciitis (inflammation in the heel area), the calf muscle will experience high pressure. This pressure can be reduced by applying kinesio tape with (very) limited tension to reduce the perception of pain signals.

DOES IT HELP?

Studies have shown that the use of kinesiology tape for chronic musculoskeletal pain - lasting more than XNXUX weeks (1) - has better results compared to other typical interventions such as ice, painkillers, etc.

As with any treatment, taping is not for everyone and is part of a larger treatment plan. Kinesiology tape should be considered an adjunct to other "evidence-based" treatments such as therapeutic exercise.

WHEN TO USE

Depending on how kinesiology tape is applied (tension level), it can be used for things like muscle support, proprioception (muscle stability during movement) and fascial relief:

SUPPORT

Taping prevents the muscles from overstretching or contracting. Kinesiology tape is used to provide additional support to affected muscles or joints without restricting mobility.

RE-TRAINING

Kinesiology tape can help to "retrain" muscles that have become accustomed to incorrect positioning, rendering them inactive or (largely) out of function.

IMPROVEMENT

Some use kinesiology tape because they believe it can help improve performance. However, there are no medically validated studies and it is believed to be more of a psychological aspect.

HOW TO APPLY

You don't have to be an expert to properly apply kinesiology tape. There is no evidence that all kinds of patterns and specific techniques contribute to a better result! Apply the tape to the painful area with a slight stretch (about 25%, but never more than 50%). If the tape does not reduce pain by 50% after application, kinesio tape will not be effective in this particular situation.

APPLICATION TIPS

The first and last 4 cm of the tape must be applied without tension.

  • Avoid wrinkles in the tape and do not put your hands on the adhesive side.
  • Cut the ends in a round shape to prevent sharp edges from separating more quickly.
  • Apply to the painful area and, if necessary, apply several strips along both sides of the affected muscle.
  • Remove immediately if rash (allergic reaction) occurs.
  • Kinesio tape can be worn for 3 to 5 days.
  • Contact with water affects wear time (adhesion).

SOURCES

(1) Lim, EC and MGTay, Kinesiology taping in musculoskeletal pain and disability lasting more than 4 weeks: is it time to rip off the tape and throw it away with the sweat? A systematic review with meta-analysis focusing on pain and also taping methods. Br J Sports Med, 2015. 49(24): p. 1558-66.