Benefits of Kinesiology Taping, Part 3 – Structural Benefits

posted by Tape Expert

This is the third in a series of four postings detailing the “big 4” benefits of kinesiology taping:
1. Psychological Benefits
2. Microcirculatory Benefits
3. Structural Benefits
4. Neurosensory Benefits
Today I’m going to focus on the structural benefits of kinesiology taping.

The Problem With Traditional Athletic Tape
knee_athletic_tape3In the field of traditional athletic taping, the amount of support provided by the tape is inversly proportional to the range of motion of the taped area. In other words, to achieve high levels of support for an injured area, the tape must be applied tightly, which dramatically reduces range of motion. This is a double-edged sword for athletes who wish to continue training and/or competing as their injuries heal. In some cases the restriction caused by the tape will not allow them to execute the necessary movements to continue in their sport. In other cases, an athlete may unconsciously compensate for the lack of movement in the taped area and end up with another injury!

What Makes Kinesiology Tape Special?
st_hand_applicationOne of the unique features of kinesiology tape is that it can provide structural support without limiting range of motion, as traditional athletic tape does. With the exception of serious injuries that require immobilization or restrictive support, this means that athletes can use kinesiology tape to safely continue to train and compete as their injuries heal. The “soft end feel” associated with a structural kinesiology taping application automatically reinforces proper movement patterns within a safe range of motion.

How to Create a Structural Kinesiology Taping Application
When applying kinesiology tape, the two factors that can be manipulated are the amount of stretch in the tape and the amount of stretch in the muscle. In the case of a structural application, you STRETCH ONLY THE TAPE, NOT THE MUSCLE. The only parts of the tape that are not stretched are the anchor ends – this lessens the liklihood of skin irritation and helps the tape adhere better. Following are the steps involved in a structural kinesiology tape application.

1. Remove the backing from the first 2″ of the tape and apply with NO STRETCH.  Rub briskly to activate the adhesive.

2. Remove the backing from the rest of the tape, and stretch the tape to the desired tension – the more support desired, the greater the stretch.
Important Note: You should not exceed 80% of the available stretch in the tape. If more support is required than can be provided by 80% stretch, you should be using traditional athletic tape.

3. Carefully holding the center part of the tape away from the skin, apply the final 2″ of the tape, with NO STRETCH. Rub briskly to activate the adhesive.

4. If desired, shorten the injured muscle by flexing or extending the joint in the appropriate direction. This will increase the sensory feedback from the tape, providing a physical reminder when an unsafe range of motion is being approached.

5. Press the center section of the tape onto the skin, rubbing briskly to activate the adhesive.

The goal is to provide an “end feel” that will prevent a muscle or joint from extending beyond its current safe range of motion.

My next post will provide details of the neurosensory application, used predominantly for pain relief. Check back for this important information soon!

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