Kinesio Tape: What is it and what does it do?

by Tom Conti

August 02, 2012 // Category: Fitness Advisor

Have you ever wondered about those neon-colored vertical strips of tape some runners and other athletes use? If you have and you’re like me, you’ve probably questioned what purpose it could possibly serve. As a new member to the group of people that would refer to themselves as “runners”, I had to find out.

The use of elastic therapeutic tape, better known as, kinesiology tape or kinesio tape, has been a trend for athletes across the globe. This tape first made its appearance in the 1970s, but has been growing immensely in the last four years. So the questions are: what is it and what does it do?

According to a study by Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand tape is applied along muscles, ligaments, or tendons. This tape can provide external support to reduce pain, prevents further injury, and may speed recovery by circulating blood flow to the taped areas. As this form of taping is only applied to the muscles, it allows for the joints to have a full range of motion and is completely non-restrictive to the wearer.

The elastic design for most forms of kinesiology tape is lightweight and breathable which allows for moisture to be released through the tape. This allows for the tape to stay applied for up to five days without the need to replace it.

That same study suggests kinesio tape can support the following common injuries:

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Jumpers knee
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • ACL/MCL issues
  • Rotator cuff
  • Groin and hamstring pulls
  • Lower back issues
  • Shin splints
  • Tennis and golf elbow

There have been conflicting studies on the effectiveness of kinesio tape in producing significant results. However, it continues to be a growing trend among runners and all athletes alike. Some common brands of kinesiology tape are KT Tape, Kinesio Tex Tape, and Rock Tape. The best resource on how to apply kinesio tape properly can be found at the KT Tape instructional website.

Personally, I have had severe shin splints for the last few months, so I decided to tape up before running the Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon this year. I felt much less pain than usual while racing and the recovery for my legs improved immensely. Surprisingly, the tape stayed applied to my legs for 5 days before peeling off and it was neither itching or bothersome. I am very impressed and might be a new frequent customer of kinesio tape.

Feel free to share your own experience of using kinesio tape in the comments below. 

As always, exercisers should consult a physician when considering using new equipment. Experienced practitioners should also be contacted for proper use of any fitness product.

 
Tom Conti
 

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