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Posts Tagged ‘kinesio tex tape’

This is the first in a series of posts providing instructions for taping a variety of conditions related to pregnancy.

The physical changes associated with  pregnancy put strain on many different parts of the body. The accompanying swelling, aches and pains can make the latter stages of pregnancy extremely uncomfortable. With the precautions against taking medications while pregnant, it can seem as though there are few solutions to deal with things like back pain, swollen feet, carpal tunnel and more.

Kinesiology taping is an ideal solution for all of these issues. The soft, elastic tape is comfortable to wear and it contains no medications. It’s hypoallergenic acrylic adhesive is safe and non-irritating. And, the best thing about kinesio taping during pregnancy is that is can dramatically relieve many of the physical discomforts that can make life miserable.

The Baby Belt Kinesiology Taping by RockTape

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baby_belt_step_lBegin by cutting 2 pieces of tape, approximately 3 feet long. Remove the backing from the end of one piece and apply it over the hip area (photo 1). Have the subject hold her arm above her head as you apply the kinesiotape in a spiral pattern along the lower margin of the abdomen, over the ribs and up the back, finishing just above the opposite shoulder blade.

Repeat the process starting on the other hip.

Pregnancy Abdominal Taping - Front StripsCut two more strips of kinesiology tape, each approximately 15″ long. Have subject hold both arms above her head.Apply the end of the first strip just above and to the side of the pelvic bone, then run the rest of the strip straight up over the abdomen, finishing on the ribcage just below the breasts.

Repeat on the other side with the second strip of tape.

Pregnancy Abdominal Taping - Back ViewRear view of completed taping.

Remember that, if properly applied, most kinesiotaping applications can be worn for up to 5 days. This makes kinesiology tape a convenient and cost effective way to deal with the discomforts of pregnancy.

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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kinesiology_tape_rollsOne of the features that makes kinesiology tape different from other types of therapeutic tape is its elasticity. Kinesiology tape is designed to stretch up to 40% beyond its “resting” length (i.e., its length with the paper backing still applied).

This “stretchability factor” greatly increases the therapeutic benefits available from kinesiology taping as opposed to traditional athletic taping techniques. This post will provide a general overview of the benefits associated with the elastic properties of kinesiology tape. The following information is equally applicable to both formats of kinesiology tape currently available: Kinesiology Tape by the Roll (brand names Kinesio Tex Tape and SpiderTape), and Pre-Cut Kinesiology Tape Applications (brand name SpiderTech Tape).

 The Benefits of Stretchable Kinesiology Tape

  • kinesiology_tape_athletesWhen kinesiology tape is stretched as it is applied to the skin, it creates a microscopic lifting of the skin in the taped area. This relieves pressure on the local pain receptors, reducing irritation, pain and spasms. Conventional athletic tape, on the other hand, can actually increase pain in an acutely injured area as it does not accomodate to swelling or movement.
  • This lifting action also allows for enhanced circulation of both blood and lymphatic fluid. Increased bloodflow accelerates healing by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues, while improved lymphatic drainage reduces swelling, edema and inflammation.
  • The elastic properties of kinesiology tape allow it to provide therapeutic benefits to an injured or painful area without the rigid compression of traditional taping. This means that kinesiology taping applications can be safely left in place for several days, as opposed to conventional athletic tape that must be removed within hours because of reduced circulation. In fact, the longer a kinesiology taping application is worn, the better, since the therapeutic benefits continue to accrue for the entire time it is worn.
  • The elasticity of kinesiology tape makes it the preferred method of taping for injured athletes who desire to continue training and/or competing as they recover from their injuries. When applied with the appropriate amount of stretch, kinesiology tape can provide support to an injured area, preventing harmful overstretching or over-contraction, without restricting a healthy range of movement.
  • When stretched kinesiology tape is applied to the skin, the ongoing sensory stimulation from the tape can override pain signals from an injured or inflamed area, providing a safe, non-pharmaceutical approach to pain relief.

Watch for upcoming posts providing more detailed guidelines for stretching tape and muscles in kinesiology taping applications.

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kinesiology_tapeWondering what that funky-looking, colored tape is that so many athletes are wearing these days? It’s called kinesiology tape, and it has become an overnight sensation among injured athletes, people with chronic inflammatory conditions, accident victims and individuals recovering from surgery.

The surprising ability of this lightweight, thin, stretchy therapeutic tape to quickly relieve pain and reduce inflammation makes it effective for a wide range of conditions. Although best known as an athletic tape or sports tape, its uses extend well beyond the realm of athletics. Following is a partial list of conditions known to respond favorably to kinesiology taping.

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

Muscle Pain or Spasms – 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, Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow

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

Following are some important things to know about kinesiology tape:

1. Kinesiology tape can be bought in rolls or pre-cut applications for specific body parts. Home users with no kinesiology taping training should begin with precut kinesiology tape.

2. When properly applied, one application of kinesiology tape can be worn for up to 5 days. It will remain firmly in place through showering, swimming and even heavy sweating.

3. The therapeutic benefits of kinesiology tape continue around the clock for the entire time it’s worn. Thus, a single kinesiology taping application can be compared to receiving continuous therapy 24/7 for up to 5 days.

4. Kinesiology tape is made from high grade cotton with a hypo-allergenic acrylic adhesive. It contains no latex and no medication. Very few people experience skin reactions to kinesiology tape.

5. Kinesiology taping is safe and effective for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly.

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kt_athlete_sprinterThe manufacturer of Kinesio® Tex Tape™ donated several thousand rolls of kinesiology tape to athletes at the 2008 Summer Games. The high visibility of the colorful athletic tape on such athletes as beach volleyball gold medalist, Kerry Walsh, has created an enthusiastic following by athletes and trainers from around the world. Among those wearing the colorful therapeutic tape were:
♦ High Jumper, Germaine Mason – UK
♦ Long Jumper, Hrisopiyi Devetzi – Greece
♦ Tennis Player, Fernando Gonzalez – Chile
♦ Hurdler, Paulo Villar – Colombia
♦ Sprinter, Wallace Spearmon – USA
♦ Basketball Player, Alex Mumbru – Spain
♦ Wheelchair Basketball Teams, UK and S. Africa
♦ Women’s Field Hockey Team – China
♦ Water Polo Player, Fran Paskvalin – Croatia

us_ski_team_logosMore recently, Kinesio® has become an Official Medical Supplier for the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Association (USSA®).  This means that Kinesio® will provide the athletes on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Teams with  elastic therapeutic taping products as they train for and compete in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Kinesiology tape will become more and more important to the Winter Olympic athletes as the games approach because of its ability to accelerate the healing process for many injuries as athletes continue to train.

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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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