What is Kinesio Taping?

Ryan LaCorte Publications, Sandra Macejak

Kinesio Taping and Physical Therapy

The Kinesio Taping method was developed in 1979, and has had a recent resurgence in popularity in the physical therapy world. Kinesio Tape is a form of therapeutic tape made up of elastic fibers and all organic materials, all of which are latex free. This means that even people with slightly sensitive skin can take advantage of the tape. It can be applied to almost any muscle, joint, ligament, or tendon for a therapeutic purpose. When applied, unlike other forms of therapeutic tape, you should not feel like there is anything there. Kinesio Tape allows for normal movement and the ability to complete activities that you would normally perform without causing any form of restriction or limiting range of motion. Kinesio Taping can have an effect on multiple systems of the body including the circulatory/ lymphatic system, the musculoskeletal system, the neural system, and the fascial system. How the tape is applied to certain target tissues throughout the body will determine the physiological effect and system that will be affected.

Who can benefit from Kinesio Tape?

Some people may believe that Kinesio Taping is only used on young people or athletes however, that is a gross misconception. People of all ages and athletic abilities can benefit from Kinesio Taping. For example, many people have known someone who has gotten or is going to need a joint replacement at some point in their lives. With this recovery comes some discomfort and of course scarring and inflammation. These people could benefit from Kinesio Taping to help decrease some of the pain caused by increased inflammation, decrease the swelling that may build up around the knee and/or lower leg, and to help decrease scar appearance and increase scar mobility. So while athletes may require Kinesio Taping for ligament injuries or extra joint support for performance activities, all populations could avail from Kinesio Taping for different reasons.

How can you benefit from Kinesio Taping in physical therapy?

There is a very wide variety of diagnoses and ailments that are seen in physical therapy and though two people may have the same diagnosis, they may not necessary have the same treatment. Every person and body is different, so each person that comes in for physical therapy needs to get evaluated or assessed and have a treatment plan created specifically for them, including the correct application of Kinesio Tape. Kinesio Taping can be applied to decrease pain, muscle spasm or weakness, to promote lymphatic drainage to decrease swelling, increase scar mobility and joint stability, to correct ligaments or tendons, or to help correct joints that are not moving the way they are suppose to.

In physical therapy, Kinesio Taping is considered a form of manual treatment. The therapist applies this tape to different muscles or target tissues to increase efficacy of treatment while you are at home. For example, if you have targeted muscle weakness and are doing the exercises and working hands on with the physical therapist to address this issue to increase strength in those particular muscles, the Kinesio Tape can be applied to facilitate, or promote muscle contraction to these weak muscles for 3-5 days after your physical therapy session. This works because the tape creates a sensory stimulus allowing the body to react to the motion of the skin causing the correct response to the underlying impairment.

Just like facilitating the muscles, pain can be addressed as well. To decrease pain in targeted locations, Kinesio Taping very minimally lifts the skin with convolutions which increases blood and lymph flow through that area which then causes decreased pressure on the area of pain. This allows relief for up to the 3-5 days that the tape remains effective. This technique can be used on multiple locations on the body that cause you pain. So, If you are someone that has any diagnosis including but not limited to joint replacements, low to mid back or neck pain, plantar fasciitis, joint pain, increased swelling in specific locations, muscle spasms, muscle weakness or other upper or lower extremity injuries, Kinesio Tape may be beneficial for you. Here at All-Care, many therapists expertly utilize Kinesio Taping and can assess the right taping technique for you!

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