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Posts Tagged ‘kinesio taping’

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.

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Kinesio TapingNow that you know what kinesiology tape is and the different types that are available, the logical next step is to educate you about how it is used. Kinesiology taping takes a completely different approach to athletic taping than the rigid, immobilizing sports tapes most athletes are familiar with. This approach evolved from the desire of many athletes to continue to train and compete as they recovered from their injuries. While rigid taping techniques make this difficult because of the immobilization of the injured areas, the elasticity of kinesiology tape allows an effective taping to be accomplished without restricting a normal range of motion. This reduces the need to compensate with uninvolved muscle groups, which can negatively effect both function and performance.

Kinesiology Taping for Achilles or Calf InjuryFirst introduced by the makers of Kinesio Tex Tape as the Kinesio Taping Method, the technique involves applying tape directly over an injured area, as well as around its perimeter. In most cases, the muscles should be held in a stretched position while the tape is applied. Unless the goal is to provide structural support, the tape itself does not usually require additional stretching as it is applied. The natural elasticity of the tape creates a microscopic lifting action of the skin, which activates both neurological and circulatory healing mechanisms. Reduced pressure on pain receptors can rapidly relieve acute pain, while improved blood flow and lymphatic drainage reduce swelling and facilitate healing.

With slight variations in taping technique, kinesiotaping can accomplish all of the following:

  1. Provide structural support to joints and muscles without restricting a healthy range of motion.
  2. Correct improper muscle function by providing neurosensory feedback during movement.
  3. Relieve pain from both acute injuries and chronic pain conditions.
  4. Reduce swelling and inflammation through enhanced lymphatic drainage.
  5. Accelerate healing via improved blood flow to injured tissues.
  6. Prevent overuse and overcontraction of  working muscles.
  7. Accelerate recovery from intense exercise.
  8. Reestablish normal muscle activation following an injury.
  9. Increase muscle tone in injured or neurologically inhibited muscles.
  10. Delay fatigue and improve endurance through enhanced muscle ‘snap back.’

kinesiology-tapeRunning a website that sells kinesiology tape and writing a kinesiology taping blog keeps me up to date on taping terminology. With all of the brand names, generic terms and even mis- spellings, it can be difficult to keep all of today’s “kinesio” terms straight. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned kinesiology taping professional, you should find the following kinesio glossary useful.

Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology Tape is a generic term for a thin, stretchy therapeutic tape that comes in assorted sizes, colors and configurations. Best known as an athletic tape  or sports injury tape, it is also widely used in medical and rehabilitation settings such as physical therapy clinics, chiropractic practices and hospitals.

Kinesiology Tape Brands

There are currently 4 major manufacturers offering quality kinesiology taping products both domestically and internationally. They are Kinesio® Tape , KT Tape™, RockTape and SpiderTech™ Tape.

Kinesiology Tape Rolls

kinesiology-tape-rollsRolls of kinesiology tape come in assorted lengths and widths. The most common size is the 2″ x 16′ single roll, which all of the major kinesiology tape brands offer. Several manufacturers also offer bulk rolls rolls that are 2″ wide and 105′ (Kinesio Tape, RockTape) or 125′ long (KT Tape).RockTape also offers 4″ wide rolls in both single and bulk roll sizes.
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Precut Kinesiology Tape Strips

Precut Kinesiology Tape StripsKT Tape offers rolls of tear-off, precut strips in 5″, 10″ and 18″ strip lengths. The 5″ and 10″ strips are perforated longitudinally, allowing them to be applied in either “I” or a “Y” formations – the two most common application techniques. Precut strips eliminate most of the cutting that is required to apply kinesiology tape from rolls.

More recently, SpiderTech introduced SpiderTech PowerStrips, precut X, Y and I strips in convenient accordion-packs. The X and Y strips are 2″ wide by 8″ long, and the I strips are 1″ wide by 6″ long.

.Precut Kinesiology Tape Applications

SpiderTech Precut Kinesiology TapeSpiderTech is the only brand that offers individually packaged applications, already precut for different parts of the body. The step by step instructions included in each package allow even those with no kinesiology taping experience to apply the 16 different “Spiders.”
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Kinesio® Tape

Although Kinesio® Tape and Kinesio Tex® Tape are both trademarked brand names, these terms have become to kinesiology taping what Xerox is to photocopying. Many people now use the term Kinesio Tape to refer to kinesiology tape in general, which isn’t a bad thing at all for Kinesio® sales! Common misspellings I have seen in search terms include kinesiotape, kinisiotape, and so on.

Where to Buy Kinesiology Tape

Each of the manufacturers and many medical supply companies now sell kinesiology tape. Many sites, however, sell only to licensed health professionals. Theratape.com is the only website specializing in kinesiology tape and carrying a complete line of products from all 4 major brands. Theratape also provides a comprehensive Education Center with detailed information on each of the brands, plus instructional videos and printable application instructions. No registration is required to purchase from Theratape, and all educational resources are available free of charge.

Theratape Coupon

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Buy KT Tape like Mardy's WearingProfessional tennis players maintain a brutal schedule of training and tournament play. With major events scheduled throughout the year, there is no “off season” for touring tennis pros. Maintaining such a high level of activity week after week and month after month takes a toll on the body. Tour players are continually dealing with a host of aches and pains, ranging from annoying overuse syndromes to major traumatic injuries.

Kinesiology tape provides athletes with a solution for working through minor injuries and recovering faster from major injuries. In addition, it can enhance endurance and performance during training sessions and matches, as well as accelerate recovery after intense exercise.

Unlike traditional athletic tape that is tight and restrictive, kinesiotape provides support without limiting range of motion. It is water resistant and breathable, and can be worn for up to 5 days, even through intense exercise, showering or swimming.

No wonder we’re seeing players sporting colorful configurations of kinesiology tape at all of the major tournaments!

airrosti-logoAirrosti (Applied Integration for the Rapid Recovery of Soft Tissue Injuries) is a unique approach to treating injuries to the soft tissues of the body. Based in Texas, Airrosti initially focused on the elite athlete population and rapidly gained a reputation for helping athletes recover from strains, sprains and overuse injuries in record time. Their track record is impressive – the average recovery time from common strains and sprains is 1-3 visits.

I have been anxious to personally experience Airrosti for a couple of reasons: (1) I’m prone to soft tissue injuries and am always looking for anything that will get me back on the tennis courts sooner, and (2) I’d heard that virtually everyone who goes for an Arrosti treatment leaves with kinesiology tape applied to the area being treated. My recent flare up of iliotibial band syndrome (IT Band) provided the perfect opportunity to visit my local Airrosti provider.

I had been forewarned that the treatments could be extremely painful, and that proved to be true. The “manual therapy” part of the treatment involves hands-on manipulation of the fascia, the fibrous tissue that surrounds and connects every other tissue in the body. Fascia can become tightened, twisted or distorted as a result of trauma or overuse, and will remain that way unless manually corrected. Airrosti providers manipulate the fascia through deep, hands-on “massage” with their thumbs. In my case, this involved tracing the entire length of my iliotibial tract and quadriceps muscles, beginning at the knee and ending at the hip. I quickly developed a nice set of “racing stripes” as I bruised under the pressure of the manipulation. However, being an athlete familiar with the pain of injuries as well as the pain of rehab, I immediately knew that this was the “good” kind of pain, associated with the release of tissues to a healthier state.

A peek into the supply cupboard showed a good supply of the three major brands of kinesiology tape – Kinesio Tape, SpiderTech Tape and RockTape. I had the privilege of being the first patient taped with Airrosti’s new private-labeled RockTape. The black Rock Tape with the Airrosti name and logo in white made quite a fashion statement as I left in my shorts.

What makes kinesiology taping such a great fit for Airrosti?

  • rocktape-ITB-tapingThe improved lymphatic drainage will help minimize swelling and bruising of the treated tissues
  • The enhanced blood flow to the injured tissues supports more rapid healing
  • The lifting action of the tape on the skin decreases pressure on pain receptors, making both the injury and the effects of the treatment less painful
  • Kinesiology tape provides support for injured muscles or joints while still allowing a full, healthy range of movement, an important component in rehab

After only one Airrosti treatment, I was able to complete my next run with no ITB pain. I’ll return for two additional treatments next week to complete the process. And, in the meantime, I’ll be a walking, running, tennis playing advertisement for both Airrosti and Rock Tape!

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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