What is Kinesiology Tape and does it work?

Kinesiology Tape is an elastic cotton strip which is stuck to injured areas of the body.

Kinesiology

It’s used on areas suffering pain or disability from athletic or other injuries, or from other musculoskeletal pain. The idea is that, due to the tape’s elastic nature, it applies a pulling force on the skin which supports the affected muscle or joint. The tape is designed to be close to the thickness and elasticity of human skin, and to allow a greater range of motion than traditional athletic tape. 

This, combined with the cotton fibers that help it to dry quicker, lengthen the time it can be worn before it has to be reapplied.1

Kinesiology Tape is applied with the affected muscle or area in a stretched position, and applied using its acrylic adhesive, which is activated by heat. The theory is that the tape will help correctly align the weak muscles and aid the movement of the joint, due to its elasticity. 

It is also claimed that it lifts the skin, allowing for greater circulation of both blood and the lymphatic fluids that cause swelling around injured joints. The greater space under the skin is in turn supposed to reduce pain by reducing pressure on the body’s pain receptor.

Does it work?

One study aimed to measure the impacts of using Kinesiology Tape on people’s balance over a seven-day period. The patients, who all had chronic ankle instability, were split into two groups - with one given Kinesiology Tape for lateral ankle sprain, and the other given a placebo tape. 

The effects of both tapes on the people involved was measured using computerised dynamic posturography (this involves the participant standing or moving in special apparatus linked to a computer, in order to provide specific, accurate data in real time). The study found that both groups showed improvements, with no observable differences between them. 

The improvements shown may have been because of a “subjective increase in confidence after the tape application,” but in this case there is no evidence for Kinesiology Tape actually working.2 

Kinesiology

Further trials, such as a report from Australian Physiotherapy Association, seem to correlate with this. This review included twelve randomised trials, which included 495 participants with injuries ranging from shoulder pain, knees, lower back, neck and other areas. 

The conclusion was that Kinesiology Tape was no more effective in reducing pain or speeding recovery than a placebo tape.3

Further research will be required into the use of Kinesiology Tape, but it may still help certain individuals as a clinical treatment option.

Preventing injuries during sport

From tennis elbow, to golfer’s knee, to a whole range of cricketing injuries, playing regular sport is not without its occupational hazards. When it comes to sporting injuries, prevention is better than cure, and you can read more about how to prevent some of the most common injuries here. Our three top tips to avoid getting injured are included below:

  • Do targeted exercises for the joints or tendons at risk of injury - For example, strengthening and stretching exercises for the calf muscles can help prevent injury to the Achilles tendon in runner
  • Exercise areas that are already injured - If you have previously dislocated a joint, there’s a higher chance it could happen again, so it’s important to keep it strong and mobile
  • Get the right equipment - For example, properly fitted supportive footwear will help prevent sprained ankles.4

If you’ve recently been injured playing sport, or you need treatment for an existing injury, your doctor can refer you to a physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor. Sport is an important part of life for many people, and we can help you get back to fitness as soon as possible. You can read more about our Sports Injury Clinics and what they offer here.

To find out more call us on 0808 101 0337 or
make an online enquiry.

Sources

1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elastic_therapeutic_tape
2http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/o/cochrane/clcentral/articles/185/CN-01126185/frame.html
3http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1836955314000095
9 https://www.bmihealthcare.co.uk/health-matters/health-and-wellbeing/preventing-sports-injuries

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