Posts Tagged ‘Kinesio Tape’

easy-to-applyIn 2009, kinesiology tape leaped from the offices of a few forward thinking chiropractors and athletic trainers into the sports bags and first aid kits of people across the nation. Once the domain of trained clinicians, kinesiology taping is now being done in schools, homes and on the sidelines of virtually every level of every sport in existence. This has created a new need for kinesiology taping education. Without at least a basic knowledge of the principles of kinesiology taping, it is difficult to apply the tape effectively. There are several ways to learn how to apply kinesiology tape – instruction manuals, instructional DVDs, and online videos.

My last post provided resources for learning to apply precut kinesiology tape. This post will focus on instructions for applying kinesiology tape from rolls, such as Kinesio Tape, RockTape or SpiderTape. Applying tape from rolls requires a significantly higher level of both knowledge and skill. Creating and cutting an application for each specific situation is often more complex than actually applying the tape. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available, providing instructions for every level of understanding. The following resources have been developed by the manufacturer of Kinesio Tex Tape, but the application principles are identical for either SpiderTape or Rock Tape.


Kinesio Taping Perfect Manual 

kt_manual_perfect.129x167If you are a home user wanting to learn how to apply kinesio tape, this manual is for you. The original Kinesio Taping manual written in 1996, the taping instructions are as pertinent today as when it was written. it was developed for the general population and requires very little knowledge of anatomy or medical terminology. It provides easy-to-follow instructions for taping a variety of common conditions, including low back pain, flat feet, neck pain, shoulder pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and charley horse. Includes step-by-step photographs depicting the various stages of taping for each condition.
(1996) 6″x8″ Softcover, 132 pages, black & white photographs, $39.99.

Illustrated Kinesio Taping, 4th Edition, by Kenzo Kase, D.C.

kt_manual_illustratedWritten by the father of Kinesio Taping himself, this manual was developed for individuals with a moderate understanding of anatomy and medical terminology. It covers the essentials of taping for a wide variety of injuries and health conditions. This step-by-step approach to the Kinesio® Taping Method includes very clear black and white illustrations indicating exactly how and where to apply Kinesio® Tex Tape. A 7-page introduction explains Kinesio Tape theory and basic techniques.
(Orig. 2003, Updated 2005).8.5″ x 11″ Softcover, Spiral Bound, 107 pages, $39.99.


rocktape_videosThe makers of RockTape have created an entire series of short videos, demonstrating simple application techniques for a variety of injuries and body parts. With their informal style and complete absense of medical terminology, these videos are the perfect way for beginning kinesiology tapers to learn some basic application techniques.
Watch RockTape videos at
Watch RockTape videos on YouTube.

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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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athletes_collageThis is the first in a series of kinesiology taping testimonials, focusing on different user groups. The following testimonials are all from athletes who have benefited from kinesiology taping for sports injuries.

“Something better than any laser, wrap or electric massager. The tape … seemed to have special powers. Every morning before the stage, they would tape us all up, different parts of our bodies … the next day the pain disappeared — it was gone.”
—Lance Armstrong, Professional Cyclist (Austin, TX)

ayesha_rollinson“As a Professional triathlete I need to have control over my ability to train and race to my full potential. A medical team I trust, the best training plan and equipment, good nutrition and SpiderTech are huge parts of my success strategy. Spider-Tech technology ensures that I am able to train and race through strains and aches that otherwise would hold me back. The tape played a key roll in allowing me to race pain free as I recovered from a broken heel in 2008. As a professional athlete I need to be able to push my limits by pushing through pain. With the help of Spider-Tech I am able to simply push my limits.”
—Ayesha Rollinson, Professional Triathlete (Toronto, Canada)

adam_morka“Over the last few weeks, I have been having a re-occurring knee injury that I just can’t seem to get rid of with the amount of training I do. There are days where It has been so bad, that I have to completely stop training, and cut training hours on the bike. After finally running out of options I came upon Spider Tech Applications through Dr. Kevin Jardine. I have been using the upper knee spider and it has helped immensely. The difference between wearing the knee spider and not wearing it, is like day and night. With it on I can complete 4 hour work outs pain free and race at a professional level. It is the most amazing tape application I have ever worn.”
—Adam Morka, Cyclist (Toronto, Canada)

“It just kind of relieves whatever is hurting … It makes it feel better. I guess it’s the way it lays on the muscles, some pressure release or something.”
—J.R. Giddens, Boston Celtics

spidertech_lower_back“… I am running the Chicago Half Marathon this weekend after having a hamstring tear as well as suffering from sacroiliitis … all because of your tape …  I have been using your Lower Back Spider as well as your Hamstring Spider for the past few weeks. If it wasn’t for your tape, I don’t think that I could run this race…”
—Beth Battaglia, Long Distance Runner

conrad_stoltz“Bend ART Specialist, Mark DeJohn introduced me to SpiderTech when I had a chronic posterior tibialis injury in my foot. The SpiderTech calf tape, in conjunction with his thorough treatment, helped me get over the injury quickly. Now I always carry a set of SpiderTech tape kits in my car.”
—Conrad Stoltz, 3x XTERRA Triathlete, World Champion

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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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Part 1: The “I” Strip

kt_body_ankleSuccessful Kinesio Taping is both a science and an art. The science requirements include an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, the mechanisms of injury, and the effects of different taping techniques. The art requirements revolve around designing and cutting an optimal taping configuration for each individual. The blank canvas is a 16′ long x 2″ wide roll of Kinesio Tex Tape. The artist’s tool is a pair of sharp scissors.

Unlike traditional athletic taping, which usually consists of tearing strips of tape from a roll and wrapping them tightly around an injured area, Kinesio Taping is much more varied and intricate. To achieve optimum results, a variety of taping configurations or “cuts” are required.

This is the first in a series of posts examining the different cuts that can be used to create effective Kinesio Tape applications. The “I” strip is the most basic of Kinesio Tape cuts.


Functions of the “I” Strip
The “I” Strip can be used for: (a) pain relief following an acute muscle injury, (b) reduction of swelling and edema, (c) mechanical correction of improper movement patterns.

How to Cut an “I” Strip
To create an “I” strip, simply cut a piece from a roll of Kinesio Tex Tape, and then round the corners. This helps prevent the corners from catching and loosening prematurely.

How to Apply an “I” Strip
An “I” Strip is applied directly over the area of injury or pain. The anchor ends of the tape (approximately 1″ from each end) should be applied with not stretch, while the center of the tape should be applied with a light to moderate stretch. When the taping has been completed, the taped area should appear convoluted, showing the lifting action of the tape on the skin.

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kinesiology_tape_usesFew products have exploded onto the therapeutic scene the way kinesiology tape has in the last year. First developed in Japan over 30 years ago, it leaped from relative obscurity to the international spotlight after the 2008 Beijng Olympic Games. It is now a staple in the practices of progressive athletic trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists and physicians. And the recently-introduced precut kinesiology tape is so simple and effective that thousands of home users are now ordering it online for personal use.

Because of kinesiology tape’s unique actions on blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, pain gate mechanisms and muscle activation, its uses span a wide cross section of conditions. Following is a partial list of conditions that have responded positively to kinesiology taping:

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

Muscle Pain – 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

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

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