Kinesiology tape, often called ‘kinesio tape’, is a flexible adhesive tape widely used in sports and other therapeutic settings. Kinesiology tape is mostly used to support muscles, joints, and soft tissue during physical activities.
In this article, you’ll get to know more about the versatility and usefulness of this tape. It’ll show you various points, like who can use it and even how you can use it yourself. Let’s start with how kinesiology tape works.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Work? Who Can Use It?
Kinesiology taping is generally an adjunct or temporary measure. Athletes often use taping as a protective mechanism due to an existing injury. Taping helps restrict the movement of injured joints, and aids in soft tissue compression to reduce swelling.
The thin, flexible tape can relieve pain, reduce inflammation and swelling, and support muscles and joints. Unsurprisingly, kinesiology tape was first produced to enhance athletes’ performance. While experts don’t recommend kinesiology tape as a long-term solution, it does a lot for your system. It can also enhance circulation and manage swelling.
Kinesiology tape disrupts and dissipates pain through the gentle application of pressure. It decreases inflammation and removes congestion. The tape allows oxygenated blood and lymphatic fluid to circulate efficiently.
Almost everyone can use kinesiology tape. These include athletes aiming to prevent injuries and those recovering from knee replacement surgery.
How Long Should You Use Kinesiology Tape?
It depends. Since people are different, the duration varies. However, you can wear kinesiology tape for 3-5 days. Don’t fret if the tape gets wet either. It’s common for people to wear kinesiology tape while in the shower or at the pool. Be cautious still. Never wear the tape for more than 5 days.
Note that both zinc oxide tape and EAB tape usually last for up to 2 days. Don’t exceed the suggested wearing time to avoid skin irritation and other potential issues. If the tape starts to peel off or become uncomfortable, remove it. Apply a new piece if you still need to.
Why Does Kinesiology Tape Come In Different Colours?
Kinesiology tape colours aren’t that significant. There are no chemical or physical differences between the colours. These were merely developed for colour therapy compatibility.
For instance, beige is for minimal visibility, while black was created due to demand. Of course, the choice of colour depends on the individual’s preference.
Can You Use Kinesiology Tape While Sleeping?
Some people gain short-term pain relief by wearing kinesiology tape to bed. Others say that they enjoy a good night’s sleep in this way. It could be beneficial, but not all the time. Wearing this tape to bed should be an occasional option. You shouldn’t rely on it as your only source of relief.
Seek an experienced physical therapist’s advice before applying kinesiology tape on your own. The therapist will help you identify a suitable pattern for your case as well.
Why Does Kinesiology Tape Leave Marks?
The adhesive used in kinesiology tape is typically hypoallergenic. The tape is designed to be gentle on the skin. This is true for a lot of athletic tapes. However, in some cases, the tape can leave marks or irritate the skin for specific reasons, like the following:
First, there is a chance that the individual may be sensitive or allergic to the adhesive used in the tape. Even though the adhesive is hypoallergenic, it can have a mild allergic reaction to some. It can lead to possible redness, itching, or skin marks.
You should also consider the amount of tension applied while taping the area. It can contribute to the appearance of marks on the skin. If the tape is applied too tightly, it could cause indentations or lines on the skin’s surface.
Additionally, leaving the tape on the skin for extended periods can lead to skin irritation and marks as well. The adhesive and constant contact with the skin can cause mild inflammation or redness if left for too long. Of course, individuals with pre-existing conditions or sensitivities may experience marks or skin irritation from kinetic taping.
How to Reduce Kinesiology Tape From Leaving Marks?
To reduce the likelihood of any kind of markings on your skin, here’s what you need to do. This process can be used for different types of sports medicine tapes as well. It’s best to use proper taping techniques and guidelines. Ensure that the skin is clean and dry well before applying the tape.
When applying the tape, it’s advisable to use the appropriate tension to minimise the effects. It’s suggested to remove the tape after a few days. This way, it gives the skin a break before reapplying it again. Remove the tape as gently as possible too.
Another way to get the tape off your skin is by using rubbing alcohol. Drench a cotton ball with alcohol and blot the kinesiology tape with it. Wait a few minutes for the alcohol to break down the adhesive before peeling the kinesiology tape. If you’re still having trouble, there’s also a tape remover spray available on the market specifically for sports medicine tapes.
If you have concerns about skin reactions from kinetic taping, consult a healthcare professional or a certified kinesiology taping specialist. They can provide personalized advice and even alternative taping methods if necessary. As a rule, always prioritize your skin’s health and well-being when using adhesive products on your body.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Reduce Pain?
Research concerning knee taping regards proper taping as crucial. It increases the patellofemoral contact area, reducing pain and decreasing joint stress. It asserts that taping is an effective pain-relieving strategy. It can be used alongside other recommended therapies for knee osteoarthritis. These include cardiovascular, resistance, and land-based aquatic exercises.
It’s indeed tempting to keep using the tape over and over again due to its numerous benefits. As a side note, kinesio tape isn’t reusable. It only works while the glue is intact, but this tends to decrease after a few days.
If your tape starts to peel off after several hours or days of application, try to put it back on. Improve adhesion by rubbing your hand on the tape. This will generate heat so that the tape would stick for longer.
Injuries That Will Heal Faster With Athletic Taping Procedure
Ankle sprains are the most prevalent sports injuries. Taping the ankle supports the injured ligaments, preventing excessive movement and promoting stability. It reduces swelling and inflammation, allowing the athlete to resume activity while lowering the risk of re-injury.
Knee injuries, such as patellofemoral pain syndrome, patellar tendinitis, or mild ligament sprains, can benefit a lot from taping. The tape can realign the patella, or kneecap, and support the knee joint. It then will reduce knee pain and improve tracking while the player is on the move.
Wrist sprains are common in any sport that involves repetitive hand movements or falling with an outstretched hand. Taping the wrist supports the injured ligament and limits excessive movement. It allows the athlete to continue using their hand while protecting the injured area.
Athletic taping helps stabilise the shoulder joint and provides support for several conditions. It ranges from rotator cuff strains or mild shoulder instability. Proper taping restricts excessive motion, lowers pain, and allows the injured shoulder to heal more effectively.
Achilles tendonitis refers to the inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Taping can decrease stress on the tendon during any activity. It can also alleviate pain and promote proper healing.
Who Shouldn’t Use Kinesiology Tape?
While kinesiology tape is safe for the general public, there are still some restrictions. People with specific conditions should avoid it. Listed below are the types of conditions that don’t mix well with kinesiology tape. People should avoid kinesio tape if they are or have:
As we have previously mentioned, some people may be allergic to the adhesive of kinesiology tape. Please check if you do have a history of skin sensitivity before using. If so, avoid using adhesive tapes.
Open Wounds or Skin Infections
Kinesio tape should not be applied to open wounds, damaged or broken skin, or any infected areas. Using the tape on such areas can exacerbate the conditions further. It could even cause more irritation.
DVT or Other Blood Clotting Disorders
Individuals with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other blood clotting disorders should not use kinesiology tape. Particularly, around the affected areas. This may increase the risk of further complications.
Diabetes and Circulation Issues
People with diabetes or other circulatory problems should be cautious when using kinesio tape. In certain cases, it can affect the blood flow or circulation
While there’s limited evidence regarding the safety of Kinesio tape during pregnancy, it’s not largely endorsed for pregnant women. These people should consult with their healthcare provider before using the tape. It’s especially critical if it’s going to be used on the abdomen or near the womb.
Cancer patients, specifically those undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy, should seek medical advice before using kinesio tape. It could interfere with treatment or cause skin irritation.
Individuals with kidney issues should be wary of using kinesiology tape. Some studies suggest it might potentially cause an increase in the excretion of certain substances through the skin.
Frail or Delicate Skin
If you do have very frail or delicate skin, be careful when applying kinesio tape. Using and removing the tape can cause damage to your skin, irritating it in the process
As a reminder, always consult a healthcare profession, physiotherapist, or sports medicine specialist before using Kinesiology tape for safety.
How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for Prevention Purposes
Kinesiology tape is such a good aid to have around in any sports setting. When applied correctly, of course. This tape can prevent injuries while supporting a player during any physical activity. For the basics, here is the step-by-step guide on how to apply kinesio tape for prevention purposes:
- Disinfect the skin. Ensure the area where you will apply the tape is clean and dry. Remove any oils, lotions, or dirt from the skin to ensure proper adhesion.
- Measure and cut the tape. Do this by positioning the length of the tape along the target muscle or joint. Use tape scissors to cut the tape to the desired length, rounding the edges to prevent it from prematurely peeling.
- Prepare the ends of the tape. Most kinesiology tapes already have rounded corners on one end. Use this as a starting point and cut the corners of the other end into a “Y” shape. This helps the tape stick better and prevents the corners from curling out.
- Position the muscle or joint in the desired position for support and prevention. Depending on your needs, this might involve slightly flexing or extending the area.
- Peel the backing off of the tape carefully without touching the adhesive. Apply the tape with light tension. Don’t stretch it out excessively. Start at one end and apply it along the muscle or joint. The tape should follow the direction you want the support to be provided.
- Use the proper tensions. The tension applied during the taping process depends on your goals. For prevention and support apply the tape with approximately 50% stretch. Avoid applying too much pressure, which may cause skin irritation or impair circulation.
- Rub the tape gently with your hands after application. It activates the adhesive and ensures it sticks well to the skin.
- Check to see if you can move your muscle or joint comfortably and without restriction. This should be done after applying the tape. If you experience any discomfort or loss of range of motion, you should reapply the tape. You can also seek the guidance of a healthcare professional or a trained specialist.
- Remove the tape when it’s time to change it or just take it out. Do this part slowly and gently, of course. To minimize skin irritation, peel the tape in the direction of the hair growth. There are also tape removal sprays you can try for yourself.
Reasons Why Your Kinesiology Tape Doesn’t Stick Well
If you’re having trouble with putting the tape on, you’re not alone. Your first time dealing with kinesio tape will have a couple of hiccups along the way. The kinesiology tape you’re using won’t adhere properly if:
- You didn’t clean the skin properly before applying the tape
- The adhesive wasn’t activated correctly after the stape was applied
- The tape corners weren’t rounded in the right way
- You applied the tape while stretching the ends too much
The Disadvantages of Kinesiology Taping
You’ve been introduced to the plentiful benefits of kinesiology tape. Even with all of that, it would still have some drawbacks. Whether you’re going to use it for yourself or others, read this part first. Here are some disadvantages of kinesiology taping that you should know about:
- Taping with kinesiology tape can be bulky at times, especially when using the bracing with it.
- If not done well, taping can be harmful since it can cause further injury or skin damage.
- Kinesio taping can restrict movement and hamper performance
- Taping can increase the risk of injury to the other joints
- Kinesiology taping can be costly
When wearing kinesiology tape, take precautions. Let the tape air dry. You can do this by using a towel to pat it dry as well. Don’t use a hair dryer though. Avoid excessive heat on the tape. Remember that even the sun can be too much for the tape to handle. If you notice the tape is starting to roll back or peel, use scissors to trim off the loose end.
Commonly used in sports and physical therapy, kinesiology tape is a very useful tool for physiotherapists. It can reduce pain by lifting the skin and underlying tissues. It relieves the pressure for you.
When applied correctly, it supports the joints and muscles. It improves stability and awareness of your body’s position, especially during sports and physical activities. The tape’s properties allow it to stretch and move with the body, promoting a better range of motion.
By providing support and promoting better blood flow, kinesiology tape may assist in the recovery of various injuries. It lessens the burden on overused muscles. It can be used to address a range of conditions as well, such as sprains, strains, muscle imbalances and postural issues.
Unlike most traditional pain relief methods or muscle support, kinesiology tape offers a drug-free alternative. It makes it suitable for those who prefer non-pharmacological interventions.
For safety purposes and the best application possible, you should consult a healthcare professional or therapist. It’s best to do this before using the kinesio tape for specific injuries or conditions.