You’ve probably seen it before: an athlete on television wearing brightly colored tape patterned around their muscles, or even a neighbor out for a bike ride. What is it exactly and what does it do? It’s called kinesio tape and it has become popular in the past decade among athletes and now the general public. Kinesio tape helps to provide support to muscles, joints, and ligaments while also providing pain relief. It has also become popular among physical therapists and an alternative to the thicker, more cumbersome wraps and bandages of decades past. If you are scheduled for physiotherapy in Atlanta then learn more about how kinesio tape may play a role in your treatment and recovery process.
What Is Kinesio Tape?
Kinesio tape comes in all colors: classic black or bright and bold neon colors. No matter what color the tape is, athletes, trainers, and physical therapists all use this product to help with pain relief and support for a variety of injuries and conditions. Kinesio tape was first developed by a chiropractor in the 1970s and has gained popularity since. It is typically made of a cotton and nylon blend that is very stretchy and has a strong adhesive property that can even be sweat and water-resistant.
This very flexible tape is designed to help support and facilitate movements and motion while helping to prevent pain and even muscle spasms. Kinesio tape also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation, improve circulation, and support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Acute injuries like muscle sprains and strains can benefit from the support of kinesio tape, as well as overuse injuries like tendonitis. Kinesio tape can also help provide additional support to your muscles, joints, and tendons in preventing future injuries.
How Does Kinesio Tape Work?
Kinesio tape has various uses depending on how and where it is applied. When you meet with a physical therapist for an injury or another issue, they will want to assess how your strength and mobility are impacted before determining the best ways kinesio tape can support you. When kinesio tape is applied, it creates a bit of separation between your skin and the sensory receptors underneath. This takes the pressure off of your nerves and can help change the messaging your body is sending about the pain you may be experiencing. Kinesio tape can also help to improve blood flow and lymphatic fluids to an injured area, which helps to reduce swelling and also promotes natural healing.
Common Uses for Kinesio Tape in Physical Therapy
Here are a few ways your physical therapist may use kinesio tape with you:
Treating an injury
If you’ve recently suffered an injury, physical therapy can help restore your strength, improve your range of motion, and even develop greater flexibility and endurance. Physical therapists help treat a wide variety of injuries, including car accident injuries, sports injuries, slip and fall injuries, and more. Depending on what part of you is affected by the injury, your physical therapist may utilize kinesio tape as one technique that is part of your treatment plan. Kinesio tape can help with injuries to muscles, joints, and ligaments, like an ankle sprain or tendonitis in the wrist. Unlike braces and thicker athletic tapes, kinesio tapes will still provide you with the flexibility to move through therapeutic stretches and exercises with your physical therapist.
Supporting a weak spot
If you have recently been injured, you may continue to use kinesio tape to provide you with greater support to muscles or joints that have become weakened while you healed. Kinesio tape can also help provide you with greater support if you are recovering from an illness or injury that has left you weaker than normal. Your physical therapist may also recommend kinesio tape for tired or fatigued muscles if you play a certain sport or participate in an activity regularly.
Part of the healing process from an injury may include retraining your muscles on how to work better and more effectively for your body. This also applies to learning and practicing healthier ways of living, like correcting your posture. Kinesio tape can help provide support to the muscles that have learned bad habits in supporting your poor posture. When kinesio tape is applied to muscles, it can help them learn newer, healthier ways of strength and mobility.
At AICA Orthopedics, we offer physiotherapy in Atlanta for a wide range of injuries and conditions so you can get the quality care you need to recover. Schedule an appointment to learn more about what techniques our physical therapists might recommend for you and your recovery process.