Kinesio tape is a type of very elastic tape used as a tool by physical therapists in rehabilitation programs. This type of therapeutic tool mimics the movement of a physical therapist’s hands and provides support for muscles. It is effective for many different types of physical therapy, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, acute and home care, as well as for athletes, children, elderly, and more. Here’s what you need to know about kinesio tape, how it works, what it helps with, and how physical therapists use it. Let’s dive in!
What Is Kinesio Tape?
Kinesio tape is a type of flexible tape that moves with your body. It’s made out of cotton and nylon so that it can mimic your skin’s natural elasticity. This is so that you can retain your full range of motion while using it. There are different types of kinesio tape, some of which are designed specially for people with sensitive skin. It’s made to be able to stay on your body for up to 5 days at a time, even after you swim or shower.
While many people presume that kinesio tape is just athletic tape, the truth is that it’s actually a therapeutic tool physical therapists use in order to help treat injuries and illnesses that impact your mobility and motor function. Kinesio tape was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Kenzo Kase in order to support your muscles without restricting your movement, the way that athletic tape does. Due to how it helps both treat and prevent injuries, it’s expanded beyond the realm of physical therapy as more and more athletes use it.
How Does Kinesio Tape Work?
Kinesio tape can be used for many different applications and for many different benefits. It works by gently lifting the skin that it’s applied to in order to create a tiny, microscopic gap between your skin and the tissues beneath it. This helps with the information your nervous system sends to your brain about your pain, and can reduce tension and pain by decompression. It creates balance between your muscles, joints, tendons, and skin, and can potentially realign your joints.
What Does Kinesio Tape Help With?
This type of tape can be used to help with many different issues. Some types of tape are designed for performance while others are designed more for managing swelling or other issues. Physical therapists will determine what type of kinesio tape is best for you and can use it in a variety of ways, depending on your specific concerns. They can also teach you how to cut it and apply it so that it can best help you and the condition you’re dealing with.
Physical therapists typically use kinesio tape for:
- Support and stability. This type of taping is often used by physical therapists in order to provide support and stability, such as if you have a joint that needs to be held in place.
- Pain management. Physical therapists use this treatment method to help decrease your pain following an injury through decreasing the signals your brain gets that can cause muscle guarding and through supporting muscles, joints, tendons, or skin, so that they don’t need to support themselves.
- Swelling management. Since this tape decreases the pressure between your skin and the tissues underneath it, it can help decrease swelling through allowing excess fluids to travel through the area.
- Facilitation. Physical therapists also use this tape in order to facilitate muscle firing and contractions, which can improve performance and muscle tone.
- Scar management. Some research suggests that this tape can also improve the appearance of scars, which is another way physical therapists can use it.
As you can see, there are many different ways that physical therapists can use this tape as a therapeutic tool.
Should Anyone Not Use Kinesio Tape?
Your physical therapist will be able to determine whether or not kinesio tape is an appropriate therapeutic tool for you to use. If you are not a good candidate for this type of treatment, they’ll let you know and utilize other methods in order to get you back to feeling your best.
Generally, kinesio tape shouldn’t be used in cases of:
- Open wounds
- Active cancer
- Lymph node removal
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Fragile skin
- Allergies to adhesives
Do You Want To Learn More About How Physical Therapists Use Kinesio Tape?
This type of tape is a cost-effective treatment option that is quick to apply and can be used for days at a time. Wasatch Peak Physical Therapy utilizes kinesio tape as part of our physical therapy when suitable for you and your condition. To learn more about how we use kinesio tape and if it is a suitable treatment method for you, don’t hesitate to contact us today!