Kinesiology tape, or Kinesio Tape, has been visible in sporting events, on television, and in gyms. Dr. Kenzo Kaze created it to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of chiropractic therapy between sessions. He introduced it to the United States in 1995 and has been used to treat athletes and other patients in between chiropractic visits since then.
But, what exactly is Kinesiology taping, and what does KT tape do to benefit athletes?
What is kinesiology tape?
Experts use Kinesiology Therapeutic (KT) tape for pain relief in muscles, joints, ligaments, and muscles. It helps to reduce swelling, increase mobility, and improve recovery. KT tape also helps treat common muscle and joint injuries such as tendonitis, strains, and sprains.
Kinesiology tape is made of cotton fibers that don’t restrict movement or blood flow, allowing it to relieve pain and provide support for athletes. Therapists often use them to stabilize an area after an injury or during training.
KT tape is applied in different patterns depending on the muscles affected.
How does kinesiology tape work?
An injury can cause a buildup of blood and fluids, leading to swelling and inflammation. Sometimes, the inflammation becomes too much for the lymphatic system to handle. The lymphatic vessels get clogged, blocking oxygen and nutrients from reaching healing tissues.
Correctly applying KT tape helps relieve some swelling and inflammation by gently lifting the skin from the tissues beneath it. This gentle lifting of the skin creates space for lymphatic flow, reducing the area’s swelling and pressure. This eventually lets oxygen and other nutrients reach damaged tissues more quickly, aiding in their healing.
Benefits of Kinesiology Tape for Athletes
One of the many benefits of KT tape is that it feels like another layer of skin. It doesn’t get in the way and won’t limit your movements because it mimics your skin’s elasticity and thickness. Here are the other benefits of kinesiology tape:
It prevents joints from rubbing together.
Bones with a small amount of joint space between them tend to rub against each other and put pressure on one another, causing pain.
Numerous studies have shown that kinesiology tape increases space in the knee and shoulder joints. The extra space prevents them from rubbing together, reduces swelling and pressure, and allows the flow of lymphatic fluid.
It can stimulate bruise and contusion recovery.
Breaking small veins and capillaries under the skin results in contusions and bruises. They’re not a severe form of internal bleeding, but they can be pretty painful.
Applying Kinesiology tape onto the bruise allows the blood to drain, allowing the area to heal faster. The lifting motion of the tape allows the body fluids to flow and reduce swelling and bruising.
It can reduce swelling and inflammation.
Muscle inflammation and swelling are your body’s response to injury, regardless of scale; your muscles can swell even after a hard workout. Being a holistic alternative to anti-inflammatory or pain medication is one of KT tape’s benefits.
A study in 2009 found that kinesiology taping can reduce muscle swelling by lifting the skin away from the swollen tissues underneath it, reducing the fluid retention in your lymphatic and venous drainage systems.
It improves circulation.
The lymphatic system regulates swelling and fluid buildup in the body. A 2017 study showed that Kinesiology tape improves blood circulation and lymphatic fluid flow by creating spaces in the joints and under the skin.
It helps support injured muscles.
Many people believe kinesiology tape might prevent them from moving; however, this is a misconception. KT tape is very elastic since it mimics the skin, allowing it to support injured muscles and painful joints without restricting movement.
It reduces injury risk.
Kinesiology tape strengthens weaker limbs, reducing the risk of injury. A study on the Kinesiology tape application on professional dancers revealed that it prevents dancing injuries. It also reduces muscle spasms and rebuilds muscle strength by improving joint movement and regulating muscle tone. This helps them move better and avoid injuries.
It relieves muscle spasms and cramping.
Improved circulation is one of many KT tape benefits and is an excellent way to reduce muscle spasms. A steady supply of nutrients and oxygen is essential to improve tired or overused muscles.
It makes muscle recovery faster.
Fatigued muscles and muscle overuse can be very frustrating, especially if they restrict your mobility. One of the many benefits of kinesiology tape is faster recovery times, allowing you to jump right back into your sport by stimulating your body to eliminate lactic acid. It also helps boost your performance.
It is comfortable.
Wraps and braces can help with muscle injuries, but sometimes they can feel very restricting or don’t fit right.
On the other hand, KT tape allows you to move more freely and feel more comfortable than braces. You can leave it on your skin for a few days without even feeling that it’s there.
Athletes appreciate Kinesiology taping because it gives them a healthy range of motion. You don’t need to worry about it falling off; it sticks well and moves with you. You can still exercise and move as you normally would while wearing it.
Things to Remember Before Trying Kinesiology Tape
The benefits of Kinesiology tape may be enticing, but experts suggest people think about these three things before giving them a try:
Do not continue taping or engaging in any activity for longer than a few days. Seek immediate medical attention if the pain you feel persists.
Get a Diagnosis
Just because it’s easy to purchase Kinesiology doesn’t mean you should rush to grab one. You might have an injury or pain that will need a diagnosis. You’ll also need the help of a chiropractor or therapist if you don’t know how to apply them. Ask your doctor to determine why you’re experiencing pain; otherwise, using K-tape might mask an injury or condition that is more severe than it seems.
Know its Purpose
K-tape was designed to provide stability and to aid in healing. It will be enough for knee pain due to arthritis, but athletic tape might be the better option if you need a more secure foot.
Move more freely with Advanced Chiropractors Group.
You’re probably interested in trying out Kinesiology tape now that you know the answer to the question “How does Kinesiology tape work?” Our partner chiropractors in Largo, FL are experts at using Kinesiology tape to help treat many conditions. Call us today, and we’ll connect them to you as soon as possible.