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Kinesiology tape can be applied in different ways to achieve different results. By manipulating the amount of stretch in the muscle and/or the amount of stretch in the tape, a kinesiology taping application can provide pain relief, lymphatic drainage or structural support. When pain relief is the desired objective, the rule of thumb is to stretch the muscle, not the tape. This is accomplished by holding the target muscle group in a position of maximal stretch (within pain tolerance) as the tape is applied with no stretch.
The SpiderTech Tape company has produced a series of three educational videos in conjunction with the launch of their new product, SpiderTech PowerStrips – precut kinesiology tape strips in X, Y and I configurations. The following video demonstrates how to create a neurosensory (pain relief) application, using Spider Tech Power Strips.
Kinesiology tape can be applied in different ways to achieve different benefits. One of the main taping techniques is to provide structural support for weak or injured muscles or joints. Because of its elasticity, kinesiology taping is not suitable to provide rigid support for a severe injury or to stabilize an unstable joint. It can, however, be used very effectively to prevent potentially harmful ranges of motion or to improve static or dynamic postures.
The following video was produced by the makers of SpiderTech Tape, to explain and demonstrate how kinesiology tape can be used to provide structural support for a muscle group or joint.
Each of these techniques requires a different combination of two factors:
Following are general guidelines for each of the three taping techniques:
SpiderTech is a kinesiology tape manufacturer specializing in precut applications and precut strips. Their SpiderTech PowerStrips Precut X, Y and I Strips are precut applications already cut in the most popular X, Y and I formats. Using the Powerstrips to demonstrate, Spider Tech has produced this video that explains the difference between a neurosensory application and a structural application for the shoulder.
By the third trimester of pregnancy, the uterus has expanded to fill the entire space between the pelvis and the breast bone. This puts a significant amount of pressure on the diaphragm, the band of muscle separating the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. When unrestricted, the diaphragm moves up and down as it contracts and relaxes, pushing air in and out of the lungs. As the baby grows, it pushes up on the diaphragm, limiting its ability to move up and down. This is responsible for the shortness of breath most women experience towards the end of pregnancy. Because the diaphragm contains many nerves, pressure applied to the diaphragm can cause also pain, not only in the diaphragm, but also referred pain in the ribs and even the shoulders.
The RockTape Kinesiology Tape company leads the field in kinesiology taping applications for pregnancy. A simple, inexpensive and safe technique to relieve diaphragm-related discomfort is to apply a strip of kinesiology tape around the upper perimeter of the baby bump. The following diagram and instructions are taken from the RockTape Pregnancy Applications poster, which details 12 different taping techniques for a variety of pregnancy-related discomforts.
1. Begin by cutting a strip of Rock Tape long enough to stretch around the entire upper border of the “baby bump.” Round the corners to help prevent peeling.
2. Fold the tape in half and tear the backing completely across the center of the strip. Peel the backing away from the center a few inches in each direction.
3. Apply the center of the tape on the top of the bulge, directly below the sternum/breastbone. With a full inhalation of breath, continue to remove the backing and apply the tape with a slight stretch along the outer perimeter of the abdomen.
4. Apply the final 2-3″ of tape with no stretch. Rub the entire length of the tape to activate the adhesive.
Would you like a copy of the entire RockTape Pregnancy Application poster with 12 different kinesiology taping applications for conditions related to pregnancy. CLICK HERE to order.
Swollen ankles are one of the most common miseries of pregnancy. Fortunately, kinesiology taping can provide a safe, simple and convenient remedy for this, as well as many other miseries of pregnancy. This is the second in a series of posts covering the use of kinesiology tape for the discomforts of pregnancy.
The kinesio taping technique used for swelling and edema is called lymphatic taping. It involves applying the anchor end of the tape close to the lymphatic drainage ducts, with “fingers” of tape extending along the nearby lymphatic channels. The tape is applied with a light stretch, lifting the skin just enough to relieve pressure on the lymphatic vessels, allowing them to drain excess fluid more efficiently.
The makers of RockTape Kinesiology Tape have provided a series of simple taping instructions for common pregnancy complaints. The following illustration shows the lymphatic taping technique to use with ankle edema.
To cut a fan strip for a lymphatic taping, take a strip of kinesiology tape and make several longitudinal cuts beginning at one end and finishing 3-4″ from the other end (the anchor end). For ankle edema, the anchor end is applied above the ankle and the “fingers” are spread out directly over the swollen area. If necessary, multiple fan strips can be cut and applied crossing over each other.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
The SpiderTech Tape company has created a comprehensive line of precut kinesiology tape applications for different parts of the body. Each application comes individually packaged with illustrated step-by-step instructions. These therapeutic tape products provide a convenient and inexpensive way for non-health professionals to apply kinesiology tape effectively. This is the second in a series of blogs describing the different SpiderTech applications, their uses and how to apply them.
♦ Relieves pain and swelling from hamstring injuries
♦ Speeds recovery after intense exercise
♦ Provides protection as hamstring injuries heal
♦ Improves strength of injured hamstring muscles
♦ Provides support without restricting range of motion
♦ Prevents or relieves cramps, spasms or stiffness
♦ Assists with hamstring/quadriceps imbalance
Begin by tearing all of the perforations on the backing of the tape. Clean the skin with soap and water or rubbing alcohol before applying tape.
1. Subject should be lying on stomach with leg relaxed. Remove half of the backing from section 1 and apply to the rear thigh, directly below the gluteal fold. Repeat with the other half of section 1. Gently rub the tape to activate the adhesive.
2. Place the hamstring muscles in a stretched position by having subject lie on side with leg straight and stretched forward. Begin peeling the backing from section 2 and apply directly over the hamstring muscles. It is not necessary to stretch the tape as it is applied.
3. With the hamstring muscles still stretched, remove the paper backing from the outer arm of section 2 and apply the tape directly over the center of the injured groin area. Rub each section of tape immediately after applying to activate the glue.
4. Remove the backing from the final arm of section 2 and apply it along the lower boundary of the groin muscles with no additional stretch in the tape. Patient can now relax the leg and move freely. Avoid exercise or bathing for one hour after applying the precut kinesio tape to allow the adhesive to fully set.
My next post will include the application video for the SpiderTech Groin SpiderTape.
My last post outlined the benefits of the SpiderTech Groin Spider – a precut kinesiology tape application engineered for injuries to the adductor muscles in the groin area. The step-by-step application instructions were described. This post provides the SpiderTech Tape Groin Spider application instructions in both printable and video formats, showing exactly how the tape should be applied for best results.
One of the greatest features of kinesiology tape is that it can be worn for several days at a time. It continues to provide therapeutic benefits, 24/7, for the entire time it is on the body. It’s like receiving physical therapy around the clock for days at a time, for only a few dollars.
With that said, however, some kinesiology tape users have experienced difficulty getting their applications to stay in place. This posting will look at the most common culprits when kinesiology tape won’t stick, and present solutions that should increase the wear time significantly.
Although all kinesiology tapes may appear identical at first glance, they are not all identical when it comes to quality. Inferior brands can actually start peeling off the skin within minutes of application, making their bargain prices quickly seem not such a good deal after all.
Solution: Don’t select your kinesiology tape on price alone. The top brand for “stickability” is RockTape, which has a stronger adhesive than any other kinesiology tapes. RockTape receives high praise from high level triathletes for its ability to remain in place through entire Ironman triathlons, including the ocean swims. SpiderTape is also a top quality kinesiology tape, being made from the original Nitto Denko tape from Japan.
Any type of oil on the skin is the kiss of death to a kinesiology tape application. This includes oils produced naturally by the skin, as well as any topical lotions, creams, etc. The skin should be as oil-free as possible before tape is applied.
Solution: Clean the skin well with soap and water and/or rubbing alcohol immediately before applying kinesiology tape. Make sure skin is completely dry before taping.
Kinesiology tape will remain in place throughout swimming, showering or intense perspiration … provided the adhesive has a chance to properly activate before any of this occurs. If moisture is introduced under the tape before the adhesive has been set, the tape will begin to lift very quickly.
Solution: Make sure skin is dry and oil-free before applying kinesiology tape. Immediately after applying the tape, rub it briskly (from center to ends) to activate the adhesive, then wait at least one hour before introducing any type of moisture (showering, swimming or sweating).
If you have a lot of body hair in the area you’re taping, the tape is going to stick to the hair, not the skin. This has two downsides. The first is that the tape will not stick well (although the pain you experience as you remove it may make you wonder). Second, the taping won’t be as effective, since it is the direct contact between kinesiology tape and the skin’s surface that is responsible for the therapeutic benefits.
Solution: Clip or shave any hairy areas before applying kinesiology tape. It will stay on longer, work better … and hurt a heck of a lot less when you remove the tape!
Kinesiology tape is made from cotton with a medical grade acrylic adhesive. It is latex-free and non-medicated, making it hypoallergenic for virtually everyone except those with allergies to any type of adhesive. With this said, however, a small percentage of kinesiology tape users do experience irritation, itching or redness after wearing kinesiology tape. The purpose of this blog is to examine the most common causes of skin irritation, and present some possible solutions.
True allergic reactions to kinesio tape are rare, so most rashes come from simple skin irritation. Following are some of the most common causes:
1. Too Much Stretch in the Tape – When kinesiology tape is applied with a great amount of stretch, it pulls on the skin as it attempts to contract back to its unstretched state. If only a small piece of tape is being used (as in the RockTape Pain Zapper technique), this doesn’t usually create a problem. When larger areas of skin are covered with extremely stretched tape, however, the potential for irritation or even blistering is much greater.
Solution: Be careful not to overstretch the tape when you apply it. Kinesiology tape is already stretched 25% on the paper backing, so an effective stretch can be achieved even when applying with “tape off tension.” In general, the larger the area being taped, the less additional stretch is necessary during application
2. Applying Stretch to the Anchor Ends – The anchor ends of the tape are the final 1-2″ of every strip. When these ends are stretched during application, they will pull on the skin with every movement. After a period of time, this can cause redness and irritation.
Solution: Regardless of the amount of stretch used in each strip of tape, the final 1-2″ should always be applied with absolutely no stretch.
3. Hair Follicle Irritation in Unshaved Areas – The benefits of kinesiology taping are achieved via direct contact between the tape and the skin. A properly-applied kinesiology tape application provides continual sensory input on the skin’s surface. If the taped area has significant amounts of hair, this sensory stimulation is transmitted to the hair follicles, which can become irritated.
Solution: Clip excess amounts of hair close to skin level before applying kinesiology tape.
4. Skin Irritation in Freshly Shaved Areas – Shaving removes the uppermost layer of skin, exposing fresh skin for the first time. Because this skin hasn’t had time to “toughen,” it is more easily irritated, especially if the area is not shaved regularly.
Solution: To avoid hair follicle irritation from shaving, try clipping the hair close to the skin rather than shaving. Clipping leaves the top layer of skin intact, decreasing the likelihood of irritation.
If the above precautions have been taken and skin irritation persists, the following products have been found to be helpful when applied to the skin prior to taping: Liquid Milk of Magnesia, Benadryl Itch Stopping Gel, Maalox, Skincote and Tens Clean Coat Skin Wipes.