That’s a Wrap: The 101 on Kinesio Tape

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When watching Olympian Mirari Nagasu make history during the women’s free skate competition in PyeongChang, something besides her record breaking foot work may have caught your eye. Spectators and media outlets speculated if the figure skater was spotting a tattoo on the inside of her right leg, however it soon became clear that it was actually a performance aid. Rather than a big bold tattoo, the markings on her leg were actually strips of Kinesio tape.

What Is Kinesio Tape?

Invented by Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1979, Kinesio tape elastic adhesive tape that is used to reduce inflammation, prevent injury, re-educate the neuromuscular system, and promote good circulation. When placed in a specific way by using the Kinesio Taping Method, Kinesio tape can be used to provide support and stability to muscles and joints. With the ability to be used to treat a variety of orthopaedic, neurological, and sports performance conditions, the tape provides extended soft tissue manipulation to continue the benefits of manual therapy often administered in a physical therapy setting.

What Kind of Injuries Can Be Treated with Kinesio Tape?

At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the medical staff reported 12% of athletes experienced at least one injury. The percentage of athletes injured was highest in skiing and snowboarding . 39% of the injuries were expected to prevent the athlete from participating in competition or training.

Muscle sprains, bruising, and ligament sprains are common injuries in joint and lower back pain dysfunction- all which can benefit from the use of Kinesio tape.

How Can Kinesio Tape Help Athletes?

Bruising and Swelling: When taped in a K-shape, Kinesio tape can support the healing process by allowing blood to drain to decrease swelling while also increasing the creation of fresh blood full of oxygen and nutrients to travel to the bruised area. 

Sprains: After the initial injury, Kinesio tape can relieve pain and reduce swelling. Once ready to return to play, the tape can be used to provide joint support without limiting range of motion.

Back Injuries: From muscle inflammation to more severe conditions, Kinesio taping can bring relief from overused muscles by reducing swelling and inflammation. Additional, when used properly, the tape can be used to prevent or relieve muscle spasms and cramping.

You don’t need to be an Olympian or even an athlete to benefit from Kinesio tape! Our physical and occupational therapists often use Kinesio tape as one of the modalities during treatment with patients in our sports performance outpatient rehabilitation program. In fact, many of our clinicians are certified in the Kinesio Taping Method!  Our sports medicine experts work with athletes and runners of all skill levels, with an emphasis on injury prevention.

Want to find a location near you that offers sports performance therapy? Visit http://www.pennpartners.org/msk to find a convenient location near you!