Kinesio tape (kinesiology tape) is a type of elastic tape made of cotton strip and acrylic adhesive. It is latex-free and water proof and usually wearable for multiple days. It can expand to 60% of its original length. It is designed to promote healing and recovery. It can provide support to joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments without limiting the range of movement. Kinesio tape also assists in pain reduction and lymphatic drainage. This is due to the lifting ability from the tape which stimulates the somatosensory systems and increases interstitial space.
There are many different application techniques and methods depending on the examination findings and the aim of the application. Here are some simplified examples.
Fan cut – For swelling control e.g. lymphedema.
I cut (vertical) – For relaxing muscles or facilitating muscle contraction.
I cut (horizontal) – For unloading target tissues such as muscle fibres, ligaments or tendons
Y cut – For fascia release.
Tension (stretch percentage of the tape):
10-15% - to relax a muscle
15-30% - to activate a muscle
30-50% - to release fascia
50-80% - for supporting high tensile structure such as tendon or ligament
100% - for mechanical correction
Other kinesio taping properties and uses
Kinesio tape could be worn 24 hours a day for a few days continuously (even weeks we’ve seen on some patients) and it is water proof. This means that the tape can be used throughout the process of whole recovery, from the inflammatory phase to repair and eventually the remodelling phase. Moreover, patient or athlete who found rigid tape helpful often can use kinesio tape as a progression to weaning off tape completely while they perform their rehabilitation exercises.
Verdict of using Kinesio Tape
Clinical usage is based on assessment findings, subjective opinion, objective improvement, and patient preference, and it works better in skilled hands
The biggest criticism of using kinesio tape as treatment for some people was the lack of evidence in its benefit. However, besides the clinical benefits we see from patients, there has been growing evidence to show the advantage of using kinesio tape, and most likely there will be more in future.
If you are wondering if kinesio tape can improve your performance or help you heal, give us a call. Here at Thornleigh Performance Physiotherapy, we can give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment, as well as advice on the best course of action for your condition to get you back in action sooner than you could’ve imagined. We have an expertise in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and are conveniently located near Beecroft, Cherrybrook, Hornsby, Hornsby Heights, Normanhurst, Pennant Hills, Wahroonga, Westleigh, West Pennant Hills, and West Pymble. So give one of our physiotherapists a call on (02) 8411 2050 to get started on a journey to a better you.