Kinesiology Tape in Physical Therapy
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
If you’re one of those who have suffered an injury or an illness that has caused you problems with mobility then you may benefit from skilled Physical Therapists. They use various exercises and modalities to treat your specific problem, add that Physical Therapy is one of the most common alternatives before surgery.
With that, we will be introducing Kinesiology taping-a specific treatment that involves placing strips of special tape on your body in specific directions to help improve your mobility and support your joints, muscles, and tendons.
Kinesiology tape was developed way back in the 1970s by Dr. Kenso Kase, a chiropractor. He discovered that using a flexible tape that harnessed the interface between the skin and the muscles could provide long-lasting effects for patients. He basically developed a number of techniques used in kinesiology taping used today. He also owns the brand Kinesiotape.
How does it work?
Like all treatments, your Physical Therapist will perform a thorough evaluation and assessment to know the best use of Kinesio tape for your condition and if there are underlying conditions that might contraindicate it for the patient. Yes, kinesiology tape serves different functions when applied to a patient.
In general, it is thought that kinesiology tape helps to create balance in the neural circuitry in muscles, tendons, joints, and skin which is thought to work to reduce pain, decrease swelling, and improve muscle performance and function.
There are different theories about how kinesiology tape works. It is believed to change the proprioception input of the sensory nervous system in the muscles, joints, and skin. It is also thought to improve the interaction between the skin and the underlying structures to assist in resetting the circuitry of this part of the nervous system that would result in improving muscular activation and performance. Kinesiology tape is also thought to realign joint positions, and it may also be useful in remodeling collagen tissues such as in scar tissue management.
Specific Kinesio Tape Uses
Some of the most common uses of Kinesiology tape would include the following, however, it would still depend on the patient’s condition.
1. Pain Management
Kinesiology Tape is known to help in decreasing pain and muscle spasms brought on by injury. It also helps in decreasing the nociceptive input to the brain that helps in decreasing the muscle guarding and protective spasm.
2. Stability and Support
There are conditions that require a specific joint to be held in place, in this case, kinesiology tape is highly recommended for the patient. These conditions are iliotibial band triction syndrome, patellofemoral stress syndrome, or shoulder instability may benefit from the extra support that kinesio tape can provide and still allow some motion to occur.
3.Manages Swelling and Scar Tissue Management
Kinesiology tape helps to decrease the swelling by decreasing the pressure between the skin and the underlying tissues from an injury or surgery. It provides a pathway for excess fluids that have accumulated since the injury to travel through. Kinesiology tape is also sometimes used in lymphedema management or for superficial contusions. There are also cases that kinesio tape is used to gently pull on scar tissue, providing a low-intensity, and long-duration stretch to the tight collagen that makes up scar tissue since scar tissues can limit your normal mobility and range of motion.
Some people think that the Kinesiology Tape is the same as athletic tape, however, they differ from one another. Athletic tape is used for support and to limit motion, and kinesiology tape is used to facilitate motion and inhibit pain and spasm. Kinesiology tape is a flexible material that moves when you move; athletic tape is relatively inflexible. Kinesiology tape helps to improve lymph transport and increase circulation. The tight binding nature of athletic tape serves to decrease circulation.
If you have an injury your physical therapist may recommend using kinesiology tape to help treat your problem. They can provide you more information about it and help you set realistic goals and expectations regarding using kinesiology tape.