Posts Tagged ‘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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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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st_hand_applicationOne 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.

Culprit #1 – Poor Quality Kinesiology Tape

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.

Culprit #2 – Skin Oils or Lotions

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.

Culprit #3 – Sweat and/or Water

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).

Culprit #4 – Body Hair

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!

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PowerTaping … Taping Movements, Not Muscles

powertaping_icon_lg“RockTape” and “PowerTaping” have been all the buzz lately, ever since NBC profiled these exciting new kinesiology taping products during their coverage of the Winter Olympics. My last post featured an overview of RockTape, also referred to as Power Tape, plus a video of the NBC segment.

Going hand-in-hand with RockTape is an innovative new kinesiology taping method called PowerTaping. Rather than taping an isolated joint or muscle group, PowerTaping protocol focuses on the entire chain of joints, muscles, fascia  and nervous system components responsible for specific movement patterns. The result? Improved efficiency of movement, structural reinforcement of correct motor patterns, and improved fluid dynamics, which all contribute to reduced fatigue, faster recovery and improved biomechanical function.

Benefits of Power Taping

powertaping_for_cycling» Delayed onset of fatigue
» More rapid recovery
» Improved flexibility/range of motion in tight muscles
» Relief of swelling, edema and bruising
» Stronger activation of weak, injured or imbalanced muscle groups
» Regained coordination in weak or injured muscle groups
» Correction of balance insufficiencies
» Regained speed after injury or overuse
» Enhanced muscle activation (timing)
» Relief from muscle inhibition following injury or overuse

The image above illustrates one of the possible sport-specific movement chains for cycling. The upper body taping reduces fatigue and muscle vibration in the shoulders, upper arms, forearms and wrists – areas that fatigue in events such as time trials.

Note: The PowerTaping Manual is written for sports practitioners, and demonstrates how to apply RockTape power tape to increase athletic performance. It also provides an overview of the science behind the protocol.

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rocktape_runner_2What does it take to get over 2 minutes of free coverage on NBC during the Olympic Games? A totally hot, new product that has implications for athletes of all ages and abilities!

RockTape is an exciting, new kinesiology tape that has been specifically engineered to enhance athletic performance. It provides the same therapeutic benefits as regular kinesiology tape, but some unique properties of the tape, combined with an innovative taping method called PowerTaping™, allow it to also delay the onset of fatigue, accelerate recovery and improve muscle activation during athletic activities. Following are some of the properties of RockTape that has made it a hit with performance athletes:

  • A Tighter Weave allows it to provide superior support for working muscles, while still allowing a full range of movement.
  • Greater Elasticity (190% vs 130%) creates enhanced “snap back,” for enhanced muscle activation.
  • A Stronger Adhesive allows it to stay in place for the duration of even extreme events like Ironman triathlons, marathons, etc.

The results for athletes? Delayed onset of fatigue, enhanced bloodflow to working muscles, accelerated lactate removal and improved muscle activation.

Here’s what NBC had to say about RockTape:

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One of the things that makes kinesiology tape so popular with injured athletes is its ability to quickly relieve pain from either acute or chronic injuries. Relief is often significant within a few minutes of applying the tape.

I wanted to present this short instructional video produced by the manufacturer of RockTape, a new brand of kinesiology tape engineered to improve athletic performance in addition to providing therapeutic benefits.

The “pain zapper” protocol is a simple taping technique that can be used on virtually any part of the body that is in pain. Keep a roll of RockTape and a pair of scissors handy, and you’ll be able to take care of your “owies” as soon as they occur.

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tape_comparisonThere’s no longer any doubt that kinesiology tape has earned a spot alongside traditional athletic tape in the first aid kits of trainers, coaches and athletes. Now the question that’s arising is, “When should I use traditional athletic tape and when should I use kinesiology tape?”

The first thing to make clear is that kinesiology tape is not intended to replace sports tape. The two types of tape have completely different functions, and both have important applications in the treatment of sports injuries. The purpose of this post is to help new users understand the difference between the two types of tape, as well as when to use each.

Appearance

rocktape_colors_verticalTraditional sports tape comes only in rolls and is usually white. Kinesiology tape comes in both rolls and in precut applications for different parts of the body. Kinesiology tape also comes in a wider variety of colors, the most common being black, blue, pink and beige. A new kinesiology tape called RockTape, has combined fashion with function by offering 12 colors and patterns, including biohazard, black and white cow pattern, logo tape, and white and yellow “instant message” tape!

Properties

Traditional athletic tape is thick and non-elastic. It can retain moisture for extended periods of time, which can cause skin irritation if not removed quickly. Kinesiology tape, on the other hand, is thin and stretchy, with properties almost identical to human skin. Because it is so porous, it releases moisture easily, allowing it to dry quickly after sweating, swimming or showering.

Adhesive

The adhesive backing on regular sports tape is typically very strong, and can cause significant skin irritation or breakdown if applied directly to the skin. For this reason, a non-adhesive pre-wrap is generally used to prevent direct contact between the tape and the skin. This allows the tape to adhere to the pre-wrap and to itself, without actually sticking to the skin. Kinesiology tape uses a much gentler, acrylic adhesive that almost eliminates the incidence of skin irritation. The combination of this hypoallergenic adhesive with the elasticity of the tape allows kinesiology tape to be comfortably worn for up to 5 days per application.

Application Techniques

taped_ankleConventional athletic tape is wrapped tightly around an injured joint or muscle in overlapping layers until the area is virtually immobilized. The compression created by this technique reduces circulation of both blood and lymphatic fluid, which could cause additional damage to an injured area if left on too long. For this reason, sports tapings are generally done a short time before an activity, and removed immediately following its completion.

ankle_spider_pinkThis differs greatly from kinesiology tape, which is almost never wrapped completely around any part of the body. Instead, it is applied directly over and around the borders of an injured muscle group or joint. The elasticity actually enhances both blood flow and removal of lymphatic fluid, which allows kinesiology tape to provide true therapeutic benefits. Because there are no limitations within a safe range of motion, athletes can continue to train and/or compete while wearing kinesiology tape.

Functions

The main function of regular sports tape is to provide support and stability to an injured joint or muscle group by immobilizing it. This would be the taping method of choice in cases of severe injury, where any movement of the injured area could result in additional damage. Traditional taping is also indicated in situations where joint instability is so extreme that a tight tape job is necessary to provide additional support.

The elastic properties of kinesiology tape make it unsuitable in situations where extreme support and stabilization are required. On the other hand, this same elasticity allows kinesiology tape to provide outstanding therapeutic benefits in the areas of recovery and rehabilitation. Because it increases both blood flow and lymphatic drainage, a kinesiology tape application can rapidly relieve swelling and inflammation, as well as accelerate the healing process. Other properties allow it to relieve both acute and chronic pain, which all injured athletes welcome. As pain and inflammation recede, normal muscle activation can be restored, returning strength and coordination to injured areas.

A new, promising application for kinesiology tape is the possibility of safe, natural performance enhancement in healthy athletes. Check out my previous posts on Rock Tape to learn more about this exciting development.

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