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Archive for April, 2010

April 27, 2010
“Bright-colored strips of tape in odd patterns are increasingly being seen on professional and recreational athletes. Kinesiology tape can help take pressure off overused muscles, reduce swelling and alleviate pain from injuries, say companies that sell it. Scientific evidence is mixed, but clinicians say it seems to work—at least in the short term. “

Nicole Branagh wearing SpiderTech TapeSo begins a detailed article on kinesiology tape in today’s Wall Street Journal. Overwhelmingly positive overall, “Putting on the Stripes to Ease Pain” discusses how kinesiology tape has rapidly established itself in North America and introduces the companies that have taken it to a new level.

The three major manufacturers are profiled, including Kinesio Tex Tape, SpiderTech Tape and RockTape. Each has established itself by virtue of a specific market niche – Kinesio Tex Tape as a clinical product, Spider Tech as the leader in precut kinesiology tape for different body parts, and Rock Tape as a premium performance-enhancing tape for athletes.

As kinesiology taping applications are being seen on more athletes in more sports, the demand for the products at the consumer level is exploding. Many online retailers sell only to health professionals, but all three brands are available to the general public on a specialty kinesiology tape website, www.theratape.com.

If the validity of kinesiology taping was ever in doubt, this profile in the Wall Street Journal has given it the official “big business” stamp of approval.

Click Here to read the entire article.

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One of the most critical time periods during recovery from a sports injury is the return to activity. During this phase of recovery, athletes may face a number of challenges:

  • pain in the injured area or in structures supporting the injured area
  • loss of strength due to muscle inhibition
  • unhealthy movement patterns resulting from protective mechanisms
  • inefficient or unbalanced movement patterns related to compensation from other muscle groups
  • fear of engaging full range of motion

Any of these issues can delay an athlete’s return to full functioning, or even contribute to additional injuries. Fortunately, this is where kinesiology taping truly shines. A well-applied kinesio taping application can address all of these issues and more.

I recently returned from the PowerTaping certification seminar conducted by RockTape. In this seminar I learned about a 3-step taping protocol that is ideal for athletes who are returning from an injury or who need to continue training or competing with an injury. This taping technique can be done using any of the major kinesiology tape brands – Kinesio Tex Tape, RockTape or SpiderTape.

preload_stretchInjury Taping Step 1

Preload the muscles by placing the affected area into a position of maximal stretch. Take your time with this step – it puts the tissues into a condition to receive maximum benefit from the tape application. Active techniques could include dynamic stretching, yoga poses or myofacial release techniques (rollers, balls, etc.).

Once the maximal stretch has been achieved, this position should be held throughout the taping.

decompression_stripInjury Taping Step 2

Apply one or more “decompression” strips directly over the most painful areas. This technique involves applying a fully stretched (except for the ends) strip horizontally across the affected muscle group. For large areas, several strips can be applied.

The lifting action on the skin will provide pain relief and enhance local circulation to reduce inflammation and keep the tissues well-oxygenated.

final_tapingInjury Taping Step 3

Apply “stabilization” strips around the perimeter of the affected area. This is a good place to use Y-strips, with the base at the lower end of the muscle group and the tails running vertically around the outer boundaries of the muscles.

This part of the taping will support the injured area, while still allowing a full range of motion. In addition, the sensory feedback from the tape will discourage the athlete from engaging in harmful or inefficient compensatory movement patterns.

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plantaris_tendon_1I recently had the dubious privilege of experiencing one of the signature injuries of the tennis world – a ruptured plantaris tendon. This injury is, in fact, so common among tennis players that is is referred to as “tennis leg.”

The plantaris is a long, thin tendon that runs from just above the knee to the back of the heel.  A plantaris rupture feels just like getting hit in the calf with a hard serve. My first clue that I had a plantaris injury came when I checked behind me and noted that I was still alone on my side of the court – no phantom server, no rolling ball. My second clue came when I attempted to take a step and instead, collapsed in pain.

plantaris_tapingLuckily, I was able to get immediate treatment that included cold laser, ultrasound and, of course, Kinesio Taping. Although I’m known as Tape Expert, this was my first opportunity to actually use Kinesio Tex Tape with an acute (and incredibly painful) injury. My initial taping was a multicolored criss cross “microcirculatory” or lymphatic taping designed to reduce the swelling and bruising. After a few days, I graduated to a “neurosensory” taping that dramatically relieved the pain whenever I put weight on my injured leg.

I’m happy to report that, within two and a half weeks, I was back on the courts – this time with a “structural” application, designed to provide support for my traumatized calf muscles, while still allowing me to move freely through a full range of motion. Within a month, I was back running and playing tennis on my typical manic schedule, with no taping required and no pain or swelling.

I now refer to my experience with tennis leg as the “best bad injury” I ever had.

Watch for my next three posts, which will provide additional detail on the three taping techniques that I used Kinesio Tex Tape for: (1) the microcirculatory or lymphatic taping technique for relief of swelling, edema and bruising, (2) the neurosensory or decompression taping technique for pain relief, and (3) the structural or compression taping technique for providing support to injured or recovering muscles.

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rocktape_team_in_training_tapeRockTape, the kinesiology tape company that introduced the athletic world to the concept of performance taping, recently unveiled a special Team in Training kinesiology tape. The tape is imprinted with the distinctive purple and green logo of Team in Training (TNT), a fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

team_in_training_athleteTeam in Training offers comprehensive coaching and training programs to help people prepare for endurance competitions such as marathons, half marathons, triathlons, century rides and hiking adventures. Participants in a local area train as a group and then travel together to the competition. Founded in 1988, TNT has grown into the world’s largest endurance sport training program.

The partnership between Team in Training and Rock Tape is a natural fit. Rock Tape is a special type of sports tape that can relieve the pain and inflammation of athletic injuries and accelerate the healing process. The thin, stretchy athletic tape can be comfortably worn for up to a week, allowing many injured athletes to continue to train and/or compete as they recover. Given the injury rate among endurance athletes, it seems that a roll of RockTape should be a staple in every sports bag.

In addition, Rock Tape has recently introduced a new performance taping protocol called PowerTaping, that can safely (and legally) enhance athletic performance. This kinesio taping technique involves applying tape to the entire “chain” of muscles, joints and fascia that contribute to a specific movement. Athletes competing in marathons, triathlons and other high performance events have experienced less fatigue and enhanced muscle activation throughout their competitions.

RockTape is donating $2 from the sale of every roll of Team in Training kinesiology tape to the Team in Training organization to assist in their mission to eradicate leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.

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Spider Tech Gentle Kinesiology Tape for Sensitive Skin

My last post introduced an exciting new product to the kinesiology taping industry–the first kinesiology tape for individuals with sensitive skin. Made by the makers of industry-leading SpiderTech Tape,  the new product line is called SpiderTech Gentle. This post will examine the issue of skin irritation with kinesiology tape and discuss the features of Spider Tech Gentle tape that minimize this problem.

What Causes Skin Irritation with Kinesiology Tape?

All of the leading kinesio tape brands utilize a hypoallergenic acrylic adhesive that is applied to the back of the tape in a wave or tread pattern. The effect is that of ‘ridges’ of adhesive that adhere to the skin, with small troughs in between to channel away moisture. As the body moves, the ridges of adhesive pull lightly on the skin’s surface, setting up a sensory neurofeedback loop that is responsible for the dramatic pain relief benefits associated with kinesio taping.

While the vast majority of kinesiology tape users never experience skin reactions, this pulling action may be enough to generate redness or itching in individuals with very sensitive or fragile skin. (For a more detailed discussion of this issue, see my post, Kinesiology Tape – Avoiding Skin Irritation.) Other individuals with fragile skin may do fine while the tape is on, but experience problems from damage to skin cells when the tape is removed.

What Makes SpiderTech Gentle Different?stratagel_adhesive

SpiderTech’s patented Stratagel™ adhesive is a moist, gel-like substance that can adhere uniformly across the skin’s surface. This smooth, adhesive layer lacks the ridges that can cause skin irritation.

Less Skin Damage when Spider Tech Gentle is Removed

Skin Cell DamageThe ridges of solid acrylic adhesive material on conventional kinesiology tape adhere strongly to the top surface of the skin. Individuals with sensitive or fragile skin, such as the elderly, infants and children, may experience damage or removal of skin cells when the tape is removed.

The moist, gel-like surface of the StrataGel adhesive adheres smoothly to the skin’s surface, but is able to separate from the skin more easily when the tape is removed, greatly reducing the incidence of skin cell removal, skin cell damage, redness and irritation. It can be comfortably worn for up to 3 days, followed by immediate reapplication if desired.

SpiderTech Gentle kinesiology tape for sensitive skin is available in both rolls and precut kinesiology taping applications.

spidertech_gentle_banner

Kinesiology Tape for Even the Most Sensitive Skin

Great news for kinesiology tape lovers who struggle with rashes or itching due to sensitive skin. The SpiderTech Tape company has just introduced a full line of kinesiology taping products for those with sensitive or fragile skin.

SpiderTech Gentle Kinesiology Tape for Sensitive SkinAlready the industry leader in precut kinesiology tape applications for a wide range of body parts, Spider Tech has now made each application available in the Gentle line, as well. For those who prefer to work with rolls of kinesiology tape, SpiderTech Gentle is also available in SpiderTape rolls.

Spider Tech Gentle tape utilizes a new gel-like adhesive called Stratagel™ that adheres smoothly to the skin, maintaining its grip, without causing irritation. Its high moisture content allows it to grip the skin without irritation, allowing it to be worn comfortably for up to 3 days.

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The hamstrings are responsible for hip extension, such as the push off action in sprinting and jumping. Hamstring injuries can be very painful and long-lasting, affecting performance long after the actual trauma.

Kinesiology taping can relieve pain, reduce inflammation and accelerate healing after injuries. Many athletes who use kinesiology tape after an injury are able to continue training and competing as they recover.

This post provides the SpiderTech Tape Hamstring Spider application instructions in both printable and video formats, showing exactly how the tape should be applied for best results.

pdf_icon Printable Application Instructions
SpiderTech Tape Precut Hamstring Tape

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Application Instruction Video



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