|by Jill McCormick, PT|
If you’ve watched sporting events recently, you may have noticed professional athletes sporting cool-looking tape on their shoulders or knees. It’s not some obscure form of body modification – it’s kinesiology tape. Believe it or not, kinesiology tape has become so mainstream lately that you may have even seen someone standing next to you in line at the grocery store with this unique-looking application.
Unlike the old-school athletic tape, kinesiology tape has both stretch and memory. This allows for unlimited movement of the joint or limb while keeping it in place. It is designed to stay on for days at a time, even in the shower or pool. While you may remember first seeing it on the US Women’s Volleyball player Kerri Walsh, t’s not just for athletes or sports injuries. This tape is used in physical therapy to treat all kinds of pain and injuries, including shoulder tendonitis, hamstring strains, low back pain and running injuries.
Upon application, it lifts the skin, allowing for increased circulation and reducing inflammation. The recoil effect helps support muscles, ligaments, fascia and even bones. Furthermore, the sensory effect of the tape on the skin can reduce pain signals to the brain, bring the brain’s attention to muscles that are atrophied or underutilized, and calm a muscle that is overactive or in spasm. Seemingly like magic, patients often see an improvement in range of motion and decreased pain immediately!
In summary, kinesiology tape can be used on sports and non-sports injuries alike and it often helps reduce pain and increase range of motion on the spot. While it isn’t magic, it certainly can seem like it and it can be a very valuable and effective adjunct to your physical therapy program. If you are unsure about whether kinesiology taping is a good option for treating the injury you have, Lakeshore Physical Therapy has therapists with expertise in the taping technique and can provide recommendations to help you to heal properly.