Kinesiology Tape - The Colorful Tape With A Purpose

Experts have debated the benefits of applying restrictive athletic tape to certain injuries. Athletes continue to rely on various taping techniques to help them heal more quickly and protect their muscles and joints during sports competition. This also helps decrease the risk of the injury progressing. Traditional athletic tapes are generally applied over gauze to form a stiff, somewhat inflexible, bandage with the goal of supporting, and usually immobilizing, a joint or muscle. Kinesiology tape, however, is extremely flexible.  The debate has now transitioned into taping for restriction of joint motion or taping to allow the muscles to function appropriately.

Kinesology taping has become a new fad. This can be a problem because it needs a diagnostician to properly evaluate the patient and have a full understanding of the musculoskeletal system so the taping is accurate and relevant to the injury. I remember watching the summer Olympic games and seeing all athletes taped. I understood many of them although others I did not see the functionality. The Kinesio tape and its unique taping technique brought more than just a rainbow of colors to the athletes of the Olympics. It also brought justification and evidence that it may relieve pain and promote healing of injured muscles better than traditional tape.

The certification for practitioners consists of seminars and a proficiency examination. The tape is applied in a specific pattern, and either stretched or not stretched, depending on the specific injury. Those behind Kinesio claim that in addition to supporting injured muscles and joints, the taping method helps relieve pain by lifting the skin, allowing blood to flow more freely to or from the injured area. 

In 2008, the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy published a study comparing legitimate Kinesio taping with sham Kinesio taping on patients with rotator cuff tendonitis and impingement. The results showed that the patients who received the real therapeutic taping method reported an improvement in pain levels during active range of motion exercise immediately after the tape was applied. However, they did not find any differences in the reported pain levels of the two groups at any other time in the study.

Will it work for you?

Possibly. It's also important to remember that using athletic tape may be helpful as you are recovering from an occasional injury, but should not become a regular accessory. Playing while injured, without allowing proper time to heal completely, can easily lead to chronic pain and more substantial injuries.

The tape can be applied in a hundred different ways and has the ability to re-educate the neuromuscular system, reduce pain and inflammation, enhance performance, prevent injury and promote good circulation and healing. The tape is Latex-free and wearable for anywhere between 3-5 days, you shower with the tape on. It is safe for pediatric to geriatric populations. We are able to successfully treat a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological, inflammatory and other medical conditions. It works by targeting different receptors within the somatosensory system, alleviating pain and facilitating lymphatic drainage by lifting the skin. This lifting affect forms convolutions in the skin allowing for a decrease in inflammation of the affected areas. Please check with your physician if this could be an appropriate treatment for you.

Have you used Kinesio Tape before? If so, how has it benefited you? We look forward to your comments below!


Mark D. Thelen, James A. Dauber, Paul D. Stoneman, The Clinical Efficacy of Kinesio Tape for Shoulder Pain, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, July 2008, Vol 38, No. 7.
Yoshida A, Kahanov L., The effect of kinesio taping on lower trunk range of motions. Research in Sports Medicine. 2007 Apr-Jun;15(2):103-12.
Fu TC, et al. Effect of Kinesio taping on muscle strength in athletes-a pilot study. J Sci Med Sport. 2008 Apr;11(2):198-201. Epub 2007 Jun 27.
Photo credit:


Dr. Lori Nuzzi

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