People talk so much about kinesio tape. Have must have seen an athlete on television with kinesio tapes all over his body? Interesting tapes of all possible colors are shinning from the screen and raise questions in us.
You’re probably wondering why this tape is so popular? Why do we physiotherapists use it? How it is different from other sports tapes?
What’s kinesio tape and how it works?
In short – it reduces pain, increases mobility and gives support. “Taping” or kinesio taping is a kind of opposite method of wrapping.
Kinesio tapes do not compress the skin. They only slightly lift it and enable increased flow of blood, lymph and nutrients.
By lifting the skin, they release pressure on the nerve receptors and consequently the pain is reduced.
Among other things, the strips also act as a prevention against injuries, accelerate muscle recovery and support muscles and joints.
Properties of kinesiology tape
- The tape is made of elastic fibers wrapped in 100% cotton. Cotton fibers allow body moisture to evaporate and dry quickly.
- Kinesio tape is made so that it can be stretched in length from 55 to 60% compared to the initial state. Both the thickness and elasticity of the tape are similar to the thickness and elasticity of human skin.
- The tape is not intended to be stretched in width.
- Kinesio tape is applied to a paper base with 25% of the highest possible tension and rolled into a roll.
- The tape lasts on the skin for approx. 3-5 days before the elastic polymer shrinks.
- The underside of the tapes is coated with a special adhesive based on acrylic.
- It does not contain latex and is hypoallergenic. The label hypoallergenic does not mean that the product does not cause allergies, but that there is only a reduced chance of allergies.
- What’s more, the underside, sticky side of the tape does not have a uniform structure like duct tape, but is a wave-shaped adhesive that allows the skin to lift and more easily wick away moisture.
Once you remove the tape from the skin, there will be no trace of glue. This allows you to repeatedly apply (kinesio taping) strips without irritating the skin.
Why is the elasticity of the kinesio tape good?
The stiffness of the classic and inelastic tapes restrict or prevent movement in the area where the tape is applied.
Classic tapes or wrapping methods are good in case of severe injuries. Immobilization at that point is required to prevent further damage. However, most injuries do not require immobilization, therefore the use of elastic kinesio tape is quite handy and appropriate.
With a variety of application techniques and levels of stretching tape, we provide support to damaged muscles and joints, while still allowing for safe pain-free movement. This allows athletes to continue to train and compete and at the same time recover from minor or moderate injuries.
Tightness of traditional sports bandages can cause reduced blood flow. Therefore, they need to be removed or even cut off immediately after sports activity. The kinesio tape can be worn for several days and at the same time provides support and therapeutic benefits 24 hours a day.
Kinesio tape colour meaning
Many ask, “Why are these tapes different colours, what’s the point?”
As with all well-selling products, there is a deeper story behind the meaning of colours. Different tape colours are supposed to have a positive energy impact on a particular type of damage. So we can only talk about colour therapy.
Tip when choosing colours:
Choose the colour you like the most, as it will release positive energy in you.
How to “cut” tapes properly?
We can choose different shapes of strips depending on how big the area of the affected muscle is and what effect we want to achieve.
- The “Y” technique is the most commonly used method of application. The strips surround the muscle in which we want to facilitate (facilitate movement) or inhibit (inhibit muscle tone) muscle stimuli. The Y-shaped band should be about 5cm longer than the injured muscle (length from origo to insretion).
- The “I” technique can be used instead of “Y” for acutely injured muscles. The purpose of using this technique is to reduce edema (swelling) and pain. It is the most compact gluing technique, as a single strip covers a large area on the skin, which gives a good feeling of support when moving.
- The “X” technique is used when the origin and insertion of the muscle change according to the pattern of joint movement (mm. rhomboids).
- The “mesh pattern” technique is mostly intended for lymphatic drainage – it reduces swelling and eliminates bruises. It is also used as a preventative in pregnancy stretch marks and support of the belly.
- The “ring” technique is suitable for eliminating edema (inflammation of the patella), as well as for sports injuries.
Basics of the kinesiology tape application
The success of the kinesio tape application method depends on two factors:
- it is necessary to properly assess the site of injury
- proper technique of applying the tapes to the damaged area
The combination of the two statements above contributes to effective rehabilitation. If you do not know the anatomy of the body well, let your physiotherapist do the application.
How do we apply kinesio tapes or perform kinesio taping?
The area of skin where the tape will be applied must be cleaned and dried and free of ointments. It is desirable to use special sprays for better adhesion of the tape to the skin, so that it lasts longer.
For those who are slightly more hairy, it can happen that the tape will not be completely glued to the skin, so shaving is recommended in this case.
The edges of the strips should be cut circular so that they do not “come off” the skin too quickly. Apply the base of the tape without stretching about 5 cm below the origin or 5 cm above the insertion of the injured muscle.
Which of these two options to choose?
- For acute injuries (overload), we usually use the application of a tape in the origo-insertio direction to inhibit muscle function.
- For chronically weakened muscles and when we want to stimulate muscle contraction, we use the direction of applying origo-insertio, to facilitate muscle function.
- The muscle must be in the stretched position before applying the tape.
- We decide on the application technique according to the type of injury or according to the final goal we want to achieve.
- Note that for different injuries, we also use different stretching of the tape. In doing so, we adhere to the principle: “Less is more” or in other words, it is better to stretch the tape less than too much.
- When we have finished applying the tapes, we need to activate the glue that is in contact with the skin. Nothing easier, just rub the lightly on the back of the tape on the skin.
The kinesio taping method is strongly present in rehabilitation and sports medicine. Tapes are used to reduce pain, support unstable joints, increase mobility…
It is the elasticity of the tapes that distinguishes kinesiology straps from classic bandages, as it allows movement and lasts longer on the skin for a longer period of time (3-5 days) and performs its function.
The kinesio tape can be installed by a physiotherapist or you can do it yourself, but in the latter case you need to have a basic knowledge of anatomy so that you can help yourself in the best possible way.