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Archive for October, 2009

kinesio_web_cutPart 5 – The Web Strip

Web strips are pieces of kinesiology tape with solid ends and 4-6 longitudinal cuts extending through the center section. When applied to the skin, the strips are separated from each other by pulling the center of each strip away from the center of the treatment area.

These complex-looking applications are designed to lift the skin above a painful, swollen area, relieving pressure on pain receptors and enhancing lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling and edema.

kt_cut_webHow to Cut a Web Strip

Place the joint into a position of maximum stretch to measure the length of tape required. Cut a piece of Kinesio Tape to the desired length, then bring the ends together folding the tape in half. Make parallel longitudinal cuts from the fold towards the ends of the tape, leaving approximately 1” uncut at the end.

How to Apply a Web Strip

There are two different methods for applying web strips:
1. Place the joint to be taped into a position of maximum stretch. Apply one end of the web strip with no stretch just below the area to be treated. One at a time, remove the backing from the web strips, and apply them over the treatment area. Begin with an outside strip, stretching the center portion slightly away from the treatment area. Maintain a separation of at least 1/4″ between each strip. Finally, apply the other base end, also with no stretch in the tape.

2. Place the joint to be taped into a position of maximum stretch. Begin by tearing the paper backing in the middle of each web strip. One at a time, peel back the backing from one end of each strip and apply to the treatment area with a light stretch. Maintain a separation of at least 1/4″ between strips as they are laid down. When all strips have been applied, remove the backing from the ends and apply with no stretch.

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Part 4 – The Fan Strip

kinesio_fan_stripA fan taping is done with a strip of kinesiology tape that is solid at one end and has 3-4 parallel, longitudinal cuts in the other end, creating 4-6 narrow strips. These instructions are for those working with rolls of kinesiology tape, such as SpiderTape or Kinesio Tex Tape.

What is a Fan Strip Used For?
Fan strips are used in lymphatic tapings to reduce swelling and edema. The goal of lymphatic SpiderTech tape is to create an area of decreased pressure under the tape that allows lymphatic fluid to drain away through nearby lymph ducts. In many situations, more than one fan strip will be used, with the tails overlapping from different directions.

kt_cut_fanHow to Cut a Fan Strip
Place the muscle to be taped in a position of maximal stretch. Measure the length of tape required to cover the entire muscle. Cut a length of kinesiology tape slightly longer than the muscle, then make the desired number of longitudinal cuts, beginning at one end and finishing approximately 1” from the other end. Round the corners of all cut edges to prevent curling and fraying.

How to Apply a Fan Strip
Remove the backing from the base of the tape, and apply it. with no stretch, slightly above the lymph node to which the fluid is to be directed. Rub briskly to activate the adhesive. Move the muscle into a stretched position for application of the tails of the tape. Begin peeling the backing from one of the outer strips, applying it with a very light stretch along the outer edge of the edema or swelling. Apply the next strip parallel to the outer strip. Once the first half of the taping is completed, repeat the process with the other half, laying the tape along the opposite border of the swollen area.

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Part 3 – The “X” Strip

kinesio_x_stripThis is the third in a series of posts examining the different cuts that can be used to create effective kinesiology taping applications. These instructions are for those working with rolls of kinesiology tape, such as Kinesio Tex Tape or SpiderTape.

An “X” strip is a piece of kinesiology tape with longitudinal cuts extending in from both ends toward a solid center section. When the tails on each end are separated and applied to the skin, the taping resembles an “X.”

This taping configuration is often used on muscles that cross two joints. The origin and insertion of these muscles change according to the movement pattern of the joint, i.e., the Rhomboid.

kt_cut_XHow to Cut an “X” Strip
Place the muscle to be taped in a position of maximal stretch. Measure the length of tape required to cover the entire muscle. Cut a length of Kinesio Tape slightly longer than the muscle, then cut down the middle of the tape from each end toward the center, leaving the center portion intact. The length of the cut ends in an unstretched state should be approximately the same length as the center portion when stretched. Round the corners of all cut edges to prevent curling and fraying.

How to Apply an “X” Strip
Tear the backing of the tape across the solid center area and remove the backing to where the tape splits. Stretch the center portion of the tape and apply it directly over the muscle belly. Rub the tape to activate the adhesive. One at a time, remove the backing from the tails and apply them, with no stretch, around the outer boundaries of the muscle.

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Part 2: The “Y” Strip

kt_body_knee_3This is the second in a series of posts examining the different cuts that can be used to create effective kinesiology taping applications.

The “Y” strip is the most widely used of all of the cuts, especially when applying Kinesio Tape for sports injuries. It consists of a length of kinesiology tape with a single longitudinal cut beginning at one end and continuing for a specified distance along the center of the tape. The other end of the tape is left intact. When the two “arms” of the tape are separated and applied along the outer borders of the muscle belly, it resembles the letter “Y.” The “Y” strip may be used alone or in combination with one or more “I” strips for added benefits.

Functions of the “Y” Strip
“Y” strips can be used for:
1. Facilitating the activation of a weak muscle to help it contract more effectively
2. Inhibiting the activation of an overused or injured muscle to protect it and help it recover.
3. Mechanical correction of unsafe or inefficient movement patterns.
4. Reducing pain and inflammation.
5. Softening scar tissue, reducing adhesions and pitting, making scars softer, flatter and more pliable.

kt_cut_YHow to Cut a “Y” Strip
Cut a piece of Kinesio Tape, approximately 2″ longer than the muscle.  Beginning cutting longitudinally down the center of the tape, leaving the final couple of inches intact. Round the corners of all cut edges to help prevent the corners from catching and loosening prematurely. A 3-tail “Y” strip can also be used. In this case, two longitudinal cuts are made in the tape, creating three strips of equal width.

How to Apply a “Y” Strip
The base of the “Y” strip should be applied slightly above or below the belly of the muscle being taped. The two tails of the “Y”  are applied along the outer borders of the muscle belly. For a 3-tailed “Y” taping, the center strip is applied directly over the belly of the muscle.

For most tapings, both the base and the tails of the Y are stretched as the tape is applied, except for the final 1-2″. The amount and type of stretch, however, can vary considerably depending on the purpose of the taping. This more advanced information will be covered in future postings.When applying tape with a stretch, be sure to follow behind the area of application, rubbing with a thumb or finger to activate the adhesive.

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Part 1: The “I” Strip

kt_body_ankleSuccessful Kinesio Taping is both a science and an art. The science requirements include an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, the mechanisms of injury, and the effects of different taping techniques. The art requirements revolve around designing and cutting an optimal taping configuration for each individual. The blank canvas is a 16′ long x 2″ wide roll of Kinesio Tex Tape. The artist’s tool is a pair of sharp scissors.

Unlike traditional athletic taping, which usually consists of tearing strips of tape from a roll and wrapping them tightly around an injured area, Kinesio Taping is much more varied and intricate. To achieve optimum results, a variety of taping configurations or “cuts” are required.

This is the first in a series of posts examining the different cuts that can be used to create effective Kinesio Tape applications. The “I” strip is the most basic of Kinesio Tape cuts.

kt_cut_I

Functions of the “I” Strip
The “I” Strip can be used for: (a) pain relief following an acute muscle injury, (b) reduction of swelling and edema, (c) mechanical correction of improper movement patterns.

How to Cut an “I” Strip
To create an “I” strip, simply cut a piece from a roll of Kinesio Tex Tape, and then round the corners. This helps prevent the corners from catching and loosening prematurely.

How to Apply an “I” Strip
An “I” Strip is applied directly over the area of injury or pain. The anchor ends of the tape (approximately 1″ from each end) should be applied with not stretch, while the center of the tape should be applied with a light to moderate stretch. When the taping has been completed, the taped area should appear convoluted, showing the lifting action of the tape on the skin.

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tape_comparisonKinesiology taping and traditional athletic taping or strapping differ from each other in the following areas:
1. Composition of Tape
2. Method of Application
3. Wear Time
4. Therapeutic Function

Composition of Tape
While both types of tape are generally made from cotton, this is where the resemblance ends. Kinesiology tape is very thin and elastic, while traditional athletic tape is thicker and inflexible. Many athletic tapes contain other ingredients, including latex and zinc oxide, which can contribute to skin irritation and allergic reactions. Kinesiology tape is make from 100% high quality cotton, with a hypoallergenic acrylic adhesive.

Method of Application
athletic_tape_ankleConventional athletic tape is almost always  wrapped tightly around a joint or muscle group, completely enclosing the area in tape. A pre-wrap is generally required to help reduce skin irritation. Because there is no elasticity in the tape, this technique is used to immobilize or greatly reduce the range of motion of the injured area.

kinesio_tape_ankleKinesiology tape, on the other hand, is seldom wrapped completely around any part of the body. Instead, it may be applied across an injured area and/or along the boundaries of the injured joint or muscle group. This type of taping can be used to limit unhealthy movement patterns, but still allow full range of motion within healthy limits.

Wear Time
Because traditional athletic tape creates significant compression of injured tissues, it can limit both blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.  Skin irritation can also occur due to poor breathability, heavy adhesive and friction. Thus, it can only be worn for short periods of time. Because kinesiology tape is both flexible and breathable, one application can be worn for several days without skin irritation or other complications.

Therapeutic Function
Conventional athletic taping has only two functions – to provide support and/or to limit range of motion in injured or unstable joints and muscle groups. It does not have any therapeutic or rehabilitative benefits beyond these physical functions. Kinesiology taping, however, actually provides a number of therapeutic benefits. The benefits of this therapeutic tape include:
– pain relief
– reduction of inflammation, edema, swelling, bruising
– re-activation of inhibited muscle fibers
– accelerated recovery from intense exercise
– prevention/relief of cramps and spasms

The bottom line … for rigid support of injured or unstable joints, conventional athletic tape is indicated. For all other therapeutic requirements, kinesiology taping provides superior benefits.

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kinesiology_tape_usesFew products have exploded onto the therapeutic scene the way kinesiology tape has in the last year. First developed in Japan over 30 years ago, it leaped from relative obscurity to the international spotlight after the 2008 Beijng Olympic Games. It is now a staple in the practices of progressive athletic trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists and physicians. And the recently-introduced precut kinesiology tape is so simple and effective that thousands of home users are now ordering it online for personal use.

Because of kinesiology tape’s unique actions on blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, pain gate mechanisms and muscle activation, its uses span a wide cross section of conditions. Following is a partial list of conditions that have responded positively to kinesiology taping:

Joint Pain – Arthritis, Bursitis, Lupus, Degenerative Joints, Poorly Aligned Joints, Joint Instability

Muscle Pain – Torn Muscles, Pulled/Strained Muscles, Tight Muscles, Fibromyalgia, Muscle Spasms, Muscle Cramps, Calf Strain, Pulled Hamstring, Groin Pulls, Strained Gluteals, Abdominal Strain

Soft Tissue Injuries – Tendonitis, Strained Tendons, Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis), Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis), Patellar Tendonitis, Achilles Tendonitis, Whiplash, Back Strain, Neck Strain, Rotator Cuff Injuries, Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Joint Injuries – Joint Sprains, Dislocated Joints, Sprained Ankle, Sprained Knee, Sprained Wrist, Sprained Elbow, Degenerated Meniscus, Knee Cartilage Injuries, Unstable Joints, Joint Hypermobility

Overuse Injuries – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Repetitive Stress Syndrome, Shin Splints, Iliotibial Band Syndrome, Tension Headaches

Swelling and Edema – Lymphodema, Joint Swelling, Edema, Lymphatic Congestion, Chronic Joint or Muscle Inflammation

Postural Problems – Poor Posture, Round Shoulders, Weak Muscles, Muscle Imbalance, Poor Muscle Tone, Hypotonia

Rehabilitation after Surgery – Athletic Injury Surgery, Reconstructive Surgery, Joint Replacement, Meniscus Repair, Ligament Surgery, Tendon Surgery

Bruising – Bruising following Injuries or Surgery, Contusions

Foot Pain – Plantar Fascitis, Fallen Arches

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athletesIn the last few months the use of kinesiology tape to treat aches and pains has become a viral marketing phenomenon. From sideline chatter among soccer moms to international coaching conferences, word is spreading like wildfire that kinesiology tape has become the “must have” product for injured athletes. Exactly what is this new craze and why has it become popular so quickly? Let’s take a look at some of kinesiology tape’s winning features:

1. Kinesiology tape provides support without restricting range of motion – a crucial factor for athletes who need to continue training and/or competing as they recover from injuries.

2. It begins to relieve pain and swelling almost as soon as it’s applied.

3. Once applied, kinesiology tape can stay on for 3-5 days, providing therapeutic benefits 24/7 for the entire time it’s worn.

4. The cotton fabric combined with the wave pattern of the acrylic adhesive allows both air and moisture to flow through the tape. This allows it to stay on through intense exercise, showering and even swimming without coming off or irritating the skin.

5. It’s inexpensive, costing approximately $14 for a 16 foot roll or $8 – $11 for a precut kinesiology tape application.

6. It’s small and lightweight making it convenient to carry in a sports bag or trainer’s kit.

7. While traditional sports tape is restrictive and can lead to overuse injuries in muscles recruited to compensate for the restricted area, kinesiology tape allows all muscles to function within a safe range of motion.

8. Kinesiology tape can be used effectively on virtually any type of injury on any part of the body.

Look for my next posting on the conditions that kinesiology tape can be used for.

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us_postal_teamKinesiology tape is becoming a viral marketing phenomenon. Why? Because it works! It is a safe, inexpensive, noninvasive modality for relieving pain, reducing inflammation and enhancing performance. No wonder both professional and amateur athletes around the world are now using it and loving it.

Lance Armstrong was one of the first world class athletes to extol the virtues of kinesiology taping as an athletic tape for sports injuries. Following is an excerpt from his 2003 book, “Every Second Counts,” written with Sally Jenkins (2003, Broadway Books, a division of Random House).

lance_armstrong_book_cover“The team wasn’t just the riders. It was the mechanics, masseurs, chefs, seigneurs, and doctors. But the most important man on the team may have been our chiropractor.

The Tour hurt in a dozen different ways. We were all sore. Sore necks, sore knees, sore hamstrings. Guys got tendinitis all the time. They crashed, or they rode in a fixed position for hours on end, and they got it. They woke up one morning and it was in an elbow or a knee.

The guy who put us all back together was our chiropractor, Jeff Spencer … Jeff is part doctor, part guru, part medicine man. He had all kinds of strange gizmos and rituals and cures, a remedy for every condition. He did things we had no explanation for-but they seemed to work. His methods ranged from basic stretching and massage to high-tech lasers, strange wraps, tinctures, and bandages. If you got road rash, he put a silvery wrap on the injury, and shot you with a laser. George swore Jeff’s lasers made road rash heal twice as fast.

Sometimes he did things to parts of your body that didn’t hurt. Let’s say your foot hurt. He’d shoot the laser at your neck, and talk to you about “nerve connections,” while you half-listened. But the next day, your foot would be better.

But Jeff had something that was better than any laser, wrap, or electric massager. He had The Tape. It was a special hot-pink athletic tape that came from Japan and seemed to have special powers. George got a problem with his lower back. Jeff turned him around and started putting hot-pink tape on it. George thought, “How can that help?” But the next day the pain had disappeared – it was gone.

” … it could fix things. It could seriously fix things …”

We swore by Jeff’s pink tape. He would tape the hell out of anything. You had a tweaky knee? He taped it. A guy would start to get tendinitis and he’d say, “Don’t worry. No problem. We’ll tape it.” We all had pink tape on our legs.

Every morning before the stage, he’d tape us all up, different parts of our bodies. He’d do George’s back, Chechu’s knees. Sometimes we’d be so wrapped up in hot-pink tape that we’d look like dolls, a bunch of broken dolls.

One day, Johan went to him and said, “The tape is too flashy. People see the tape, and they think we’re all screwed up.” Jeff said, “What do you want me to do?”

“Tone down the tape,” he said. “Can’t you get the gray color?” But the pink tape worked, so we kept it, because it could fix things. It could seriously fix things.”

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This is the third in a series on kinesiology taping techniques to relieve swelling and edema. My first post explained how the unique properties of kinesiology tape allow it to achieve this goal, and my second post showed step-by-step instructions for a lymphatic thigh application. The following video shows Dr. Kevin Jardine, creator of SpiderTech Tape precut kinesiology taping applications, demonstrating how to do a lymphatic application on an ankle. This type of application would benefit individuals with ankle injuries as well as those with health conditions that result in swelling and edema of the ankles.

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