Tape isn’t just for wrapping Christmas gifts

Brian TrabulsiBrian Trabulsi, MPT, ATC is a physical therapist at Rex Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation in Raleigh.

Kinesio Tape

What’s the most colorfully wrapped item under your tree this year? If you suffer from any type of muscle pain, then it could be your own leg!
(…or your shoulder …or your back …) 😉

Kinesio tape was developed in Japan in 1996 by Dr Kenzo Kase. It differs from other forms of therapeutic tape due to its elasticity. Kinesio tape is capable of stretching to 140% of its resting length. The purpose of Kinesio taping differs depending on the type of deficits you are trying to address. Depending on the tape’s direction and amount of stretch, therapists are able to either decrease muscle spasms or enhance muscle contractions. Kinesio tape is effective at reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain by lifting the skin to create space allowing for drainage and a cooling effect in the subcutaneous tissue. To address biomechanical faults such as poor patellar-femoral tracking, the tape is applied with a vigorous stretch to correct alignment and improve function within the joint/muscle.

Kinesio tape is latex free and only stretches in a longitudinal direction. The elasticity of the tape when applied properly provides a unique combination of stability without sacrificing mobility. This combination makes it a great option for athletes trying to remain competitive despite acute or chronic injuries. Physical therapists can use Kinesio tape to extend the effects of their treatment. Ideally, it works as an extension of the therapist’s hands from one treatment to the next to minimize setbacks and speed up recovery. Oh, and it makes a great stocking stuffer for the “sore” athlete in your family!