Have you noticed all the colored tape that athletes are often seen wearing these days? If you’ve ever wondered what it is all about, and whether it is something YOU might benefit from in your activities and adventures, this blog is for you!
What you’re seeing is a product called Kinesio tape, also known as KT tape, and it is not just for high-level athletes. So, let’s take a quick look at its history, its applications, how it works and its benefits. Whether you’re an athlete or simply someone seeking relief from everyday aches and pains, Kinesio Tape might be part of a solution for you!
What is Kinesio tape?
To understand what KT tape is, a brief history of its development and design is in order. Dissatisfied with existing tapes, chiropractor Dr. Kenzo Kase invented Kinesio Tex Tape and the Kinesio Taping Method in Japan in 1979 (it later made its way to the U.S. in the mid-90s). In short, he wanted to offer his patients a ‘prescription’ that was effective between office visits. So, Dr. Kase spent countless hours experimenting, committed to designing a tape that had a thickness and weight that closely mimicked human skin.
The tape that was born out of his inventive mind is 100 percent cotton and is stretchable up to about 100 percent of its original length. Additionally, the adhesive used is 100 percent medical grade, acrylic, contains no medicine, and is heat activated. Finally, it has a wavelike pattern that mimics a fingerprint and allows the skin to breathe and enhances its effectiveness.
How does KT tape work?
The magic of Kinesio Tape lies in its microscopically lifting effect on the skin. When applied to the skin, the tape’s elastic properties gently lift the superficial layers, creating space between the skin and the tissues beneath. This increase in space encourages the circulatory and lymphatic systems to function optimally, facilitating improved blood and lymph flow. Essentially, KT Tape enhances the body’s own natural healing process.
By stimulating and enhancing the body’s natural healing processes, KT Tape can help alleviate pain, decrease swelling, increase strength development while supporting proper muscle function, and ultimately promote faster recovery from injuries. Additionally, the tape’s flexible nature allows for full range of motion, making it an effective aid for athletes and individuals seeking relief from various musculoskeletal conditions.
The direction and amount of stretch applied when applying KT impacts the outcome.
While Kinesio Tape can be a multifaceted tool in your journey to optimal physical well-being, it’s best if you consult with a trained physical therapist who can assess your situation, determine if KT Tape is right for you and offer expert help with application.
What can you use Kinesio Tape for?
KT Tape, with its versatile and effective design, finds extensive applications across a wide range of conditions and activities. Remarkably, over 85 percent of Kinesio Tex Tape uses are for non-athletes, highlighting its suitability for people from all walks of life.
Many active individuals often rely on KT Tape to provide support and stability during intense workouts, helping prevent injuries and muscle strain while promoting optimal performance. Additionally, it is frequently used to provide relief from discomfort associated with issues such as:
- Golfer’s elbow
- Achilles tendinitis
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome (knock knees)
- Tennis elbow
- Rotator cuff impingement/ tendinitis
- Low back pain
- Hip bursitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Postural dysfunction
- IT band syndrome
- Piriformis syndrome
- Muscle imbalances
- Scapular winging
Furthermore, for rehabilitation purposes, KT Tape can aid in the recovery of muscle and joint injuries, supporting the healing process while allowing for safe movement. For each type of application, KT Tape offers non-invasive pain relief and enhanced mobility.
Beyond sports and injuries, it is utilized in postural correction and support, as well as aiding in the treatment of various musculoskeletal disorders.
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, recovering from an injury, or seeking relief from everyday aches, KT Tape provides a versatile, drug-free option to enhance your physical well-being and support an active lifestyle.
If you’re interested in learning more about Kinesio Tape and how it might benefit you, reach out to your local Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy clinic using our clinic locator. Our experts will be happy to help you determine if PT and KT Tape are a good fit for your goals.
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As physical therapists, we know the importance of movement for overall health and well-being. From injury recovery to achieving optimal performance, our passion is to help every patient reach their goals and live an active, pain-free life. Get started with PT today!