Does Kinesiology Tape Really Help With Sports Injuries?
Sports tape is widely used by physical therapists to help with injuries from head pain to foot pain. Sports therapists tell us they love Sterotape-K kinesiology tape. In a previous blog, we explored guidance for the safe return of sport and now in our latest blog, we wanted to take a deep dive into the sticky world of kinesiology tape.
So why is kinesiology tape important?
The definition of the word kinesiology is, ‘the study of the mechanics of body movements.’ Dr Kenzo Kase has been researching this very topic for over 25 years and discovered that the application of Kinesio tape can provide benefits to sports people and can play a part in the effective treatment of a range of sports injuries. Dr Kase developed Kinesio Tape and the Kinesio taping method after his study showed that patients needed continuous contact with the skin but from a flexible and hypoallergenic tape.
What kind of tape do physical therapists use?
Physical therapists use different types of sports tape to support the treatment and rehabilitation of different sports injuries. Injuries that require a restricted range of movement or immobilisation of a joint require a rigid Zinc Oxide tape. When compression and support are required, therapists may choose to use an Elastic Adhesive Bandage (EAB) or a cohesive bandage.
Kinesiology tape is used in physical therapy as it is thought to help with sporting injuries including soft tissue and joint injuries such as a sore calf, knee or shoulder pain. These types of athletic tapes are now available in many colours and are best applied following medical advice. Kinesiology tape should be complementary to wider treatment from a sports therapist or physiotherapist and not as a standalone treatment. Sports injury professionals use kinesiology tape to help improve the patient’s range of motion.
Does it work?
The evidence base for kinesiology tape is still being developed but its use from elite sport to community activity continues to grow. Many athletes and therapists are big advocates whilst some people are sceptical. The reported benefits of kinesiology tape hark back to Dr Kase’s research in that it can provide a psychological stimulus via a continuous physical touch which may, in turn, better enable an athlete to have the range of function and movement required for their sport.
Features of good kinesiology tape
- Sticky and long-lasting – will stay put for up to 1 week.
- Stretchy – up to 40% of its original length
- Hypoallergenic – kind to sensitive skin
- Breathable – to draw moisture away from the skin
- Flexible – to allow the athlete the full range of movement required for their activity
- Water repellent – to ensure the tape stays put in all weather conditions
- Easy to cut and apply
Check out this useful blog from Runners World to learn about how kinesiology tape works.
How to apply
The application of kinesiology tape is best left to the experts. When applied correctly this therapeutic tape is thought to microscopically lift the skin.
Firstly a therapist will need to identify the injury and agree on a treatment or rehabilitation plan with the patient. At this point, it should be decided whether kinesiology tape can form an effective part of the athlete’s rehabilitation and can assist with their personal goals.
Once the injured area is identified the tape will need to be cut with a good pair of sharp scissors. Some therapists may cut the tape into smaller or narrower strips and even into a lattice effect to apply over the injury.
Before applying the tape it is important to thoroughly clean and dry the area where the tape is to be applied.
The tape is applied using an anchor point, then stretched, anchored at the other end and smoothed down to ensure it stays stuck. The act of rubbing the tape creates heat which can activate and warm the adhesive ensuring kinesiology tape stays stuck.
The knowledge of a professional is important because they will understand how much tape is required, which direction to apply the tape in and how much stretch is required for different types of injury and body parts.
Worth a try?
Therapists and athletes continue to order Sterotape-K because of its excellent adhesion and flexibility. Its latex-free so is perfect for sensitive skin too. Why not put Sterotape-K to the test for your clinic or for yourself?