Kinesio Tape: How and When to Use It
Most people have never even heard of Kinesio tape, but have given it a passing glance when they were shopping and spotted it on a shelf in the store, and that’s about as far as it goes. However, for runners, it’s become a big thing and has certainly caused a ton of debate as to whether it’s safe, what the benefits are, and whether it truly even does any good. There is no denying that the tape is extremely popular, as we see it on our TV screens every time you see a commercial with a runner in it or if you’re watching a sporting event. With so many athletes using this tape and its method and so many clinics and doctors offering to apply it, could it really be that good? Is it effective? Is it dangerous?
Of course, if you look at the websites that are pushing Kinesio tape, you will find that it will keep you pain-free and give you the support you need during your workouts or even in the ring if you happen to be a wrestler or boxer.
You, of course, may be wondering what Kinesio tape even is, or if you’re an athlete reading this blog, you might wonder all of the above. In this blog, we will go into what Kinesio tape is, how and when to use it, the pros and cons, benefits and dangers of using it, and if it truly works as well.
With that being said, follow us into our blog on Kinesio tape and all that it entails. Ready? Then, let’s get started.
What Exactly is Kinesio Tape?
Kinesio taping is a sort of new method that is being used in many physical therapy clinics to help athletes and other patients. The tape is said to provide support for damaged joints, while still allowing that joint to move. In other words, you can tape your injury and keep on getting it in your chosen sport. We saw a lot of this brightly vibrant tape in the Summer Olympics and it has now made its way into every sport from running to wrestling and from basketball to soccer. It’s commonplace these days to be watching a sport such as wrestling and see your favorite wrestler come down to the ring with a vibrant tape across his shoulder, ribs or back. If you have ever wondered what that was, it’s Kinesio tape. But there is a huge debate as to whether this taping method really works, or if it’s just adding to the injury that these athletes have already suffered. We will go into that below when we weigh the pros and cons of using Kinesio tape together.
The Pros and Cons of Kinesio Taping
As with anything else in the world, Kinesio taping and it’s methods comes with its own set of pros to recommend it and its own set of cons that make some athletes steer clear. We will go into those pros and cons below, to help you make an informed decision on whether Kinesio taping is the right choice for you.
- It helps to support muscles and joints so they can still be moved and the athlete can still compete
- It’s a less invasive, drug-free option for treating injuries in athletes and more
- It is effective by itself but can be combined with other therapies for better results
- It can be worn 24/7 for several days, all the while providing the injury with its therapeutic help
- It is said to be one of the least expensive treatments around
- It has no reported side effects
- It is said that most people can apply it themselves, but that is yet to be proven as well
- The tape is said to be difficult to apply
- There is no scientific evidence backing the tape and it is unclear whether it really works or not
While there aren’t many pros and cons out there about Kinesio tape, the ones listed should help you to make a decision about whether to use the tape for your injuries. It is best, however, to consult your primary health care provider before you make the choice to use Kinesio taping for your sports injuries, as if you aren’t careful, it can do you more harm than good, in the end.
Health Benefits of Kinesio Tape
There are said to be many health benefits to using the Kinesio taping method, although it is recommended that you go to a participating clinic or sports doctor to get the tape applied, so it is done the right way. After all, it will do you little good, and may even cause more injury if it is applied incorrectly. Below, you will find a few of the health benefits that have been said to be associated with using the brightly colored Kinesio tape for sports injuries.
Although the tape contains no drugs or topical substances, it is said to relieve pain anyway. The elasticity in the tape lifts the skin just a little, which takes the pressure off of the muscles and joints of the injury.
Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Since the pressure on the lymphatic drainage channels is relieved, it enhances the drainage and removal of fluids that could be built up around your injury, which in turn naturally reduces the pain and inflammation that comes with these types of injuries.
Speeds Up Recovery from Contusions and Bruises
Since the Kinesio tape is fanned out over the limb that has the injury, it works to remove the blood that accumulates under your skin when you have an injury, which helps for quicker healing with contusions and bruises, which as we all know can hurt like the devil.
Relieves and Prevents Cramping and Muscle Spasms
If you have ever been pulled from a sound sleep in the middle of the night with a cramp or muscle spasm in your leg, then you know there is no other pain like it. The tape enhances circulation, which improves the blood flow and oxygen that causes these cramps and muscle spasms to begin with.
Helps Overused Muscles Recover Much Faster
Fatigued, overused muscles can get you down faster than almost any other injury. The worst thing is they prevent you from exercising or participating in the sport you love. Kinesio tape is said to be able to help with this problem and may help you perform better at high-performance events and recover faster between those high-performance events as well.
Supports Joints and Muscles without Restricting Your Range of Motion
Many athletes end up having problems when they have joint or muscle injuries but are still allowed to compete, because the bandaging they have own, limits and restricts their range of motion. For an athlete, used to operating at his very best, this can be beyond frustrating. Kinesio taping, since it is elastic, supports the injured joints and muscles without restricting your range of motion, so you can compete to the best of your ability.
Helps Athletes to Stay Active During an Injury
According to the type of injury you have, using Kinesio tape can allow you to stay active while your injury heals. It is not recommended to make this decision on your own, however. You need the advice of an expert sports doctor, trainer, or your own primary care provider before you are active in sports after an injury has occurred.
These are just a few of the health benefits for athletes that have been reported when using Kinesio tape for an injury. As always, consult your doctor before doing any of the above, without medical clearance.
People Who Shouldn’t Use Kinesio Tape
There are those athletes, and others, out there that should not use Kinesio tape. Those people and why are listed below for your perusal.
People with Allergic Reactions to Adhesive Tape
Kinesio tape is used by adhering it to your skin. If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any kind of adhesive tape, then this is not the option for you. Since the tape is meant to be worn during sports activities, having it against your skin for prolonged periods of time, such as a race or match, can lead to very serious allergic reactions. If you have ever had a reaction to anything that contains adhesive, then you need to avoid this product.
Someone Who has an Open Wound
If you recently suffered an open wound, or have some type of surgical incision, then you need to avoid Kinesio tape. The tape could cause bacteria to get into the open wound or incision and cause an infection that you do not want to have to deal with.
Athletes Who have Signs of an Infection
If you are showing any signs of an infection, visit your doctor to be sure before using Kinesio tape. It could make the infection worse.
People Who Have Diabetes
If you have uncontrollable diabetes, then you might not be able to feel sensations. Which means you couldn’t feel if the tape is causing an allergic reaction or problem with your skin. It’s best to avoid using the tape at all in these situations.
Someone Who has Active Cancer
If you are currently being treated for active cancer, then you will want to avoid using this tape. Since it improves circulation, it could affect the lesion itself and be dangerous to your health or cause the lesion to grow.
There are also a few other conditions and reasons that some people should avoid using Kinesio tape, those are listed below.
- If you have sensitive skin
- If you have thin skin, mostly seen in the elderly
- If you have had lymph nodes removed
Any of the conditions above can make using Kinesio tape dangerous for you. Instead, you should see your doctor to treat your conditions, your injuries, and come up with another plan for your needs.
Myths Concerning Kinesio Tape
Of course, with everything else out there about Kinesio tape and its uses, there are going to be myths that need to be dispelled as well. We will go into a few of them below.
Myth: There is Absolutely No Evidence to Support the Use of Kinesio Tape for Injuries
While there hasn’t been much proven about Kinesio tape, it seems that there have actually been a few studies done, that show the tape is promising when it comes to doing what is said above. However, that is not concrete proof, so please contact your doctor or trainer before using it.
Myth: The Color of Kinesio Tape You Use for Your Injury Matters
One of the biggest myths out there is that the color of Kinesio tape you use on your injury makes a difference. For example, pink tape heats up an injury, while the blue tape is used to cool an injury down. In reality, there is no rhyme or reason or health benefits to the colors offered in this tape, they just offer a few different colors, period.
Myth: It has Nothing but a Placebo Effect
There is also a myth out there that this type of taping is nothing but for the placebo effect. Athletes think it is helping them, so therefore it does. This is said to be a myth because many athletes sing the praises of this tape and the review are extremely positive as well.
These are just a few of the myths out that that need to be dispelled about Kinesio tape, you be the judge of the rest.
This concludes our blog on everything about Kinesio tape, including how to use it, when to use it, and who shouldn’t use it. Hopefully, this gives you the answers you need. Happy running, everyone!
- Theratape.com: Kinesiology Tape Benefits
- Mueller Sports Medicine: Setting the Record Straight
- Complementary Therapies: The Pros and Cons of Kinesio Tape