So what’s the deal with all the colored tape you see elite athletes wearing now? From Keri Walsh to David Beckham to Kevin Garnett, professional athletes in all sports have been seen with a colorful new look.
The tape is called Kinesio® Tape and was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a chiropractic doctor and acupuncturist in Japan. Developed in 1979, it was first introduced to rehab hospitals in Japan and was exposed to the international market during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Kinesio® Tape found its way to the US in 1995 and has become more and more popular since then.
So what’s the difference between Kinesio® Tape and other taping methods? First of all, it is completely latex free! Since it is made of 100% cotton and elastic fibers, it is more “breathable” and easier on the skin, allowing people to wear it for up to 3-5 days at a time. In addition, it is water resistant, which helps it stay on even after you shower. It also allows for more normal range of motion than athletic tape and McConnell® tape. Finally, the different ways of applying the tape allow for the different functions and taping effects.
The major uses for Kinesio® Tape:
- Relieving pressure on the skin
- Improving remodeling of soft tissue (known as fascia) after injury
- Promoting circulation to decrease swelling
- Help activate or inhibit specific muscles (e.g. to decrease muscle spasms)
- Improving joint alignment and motion
I recently used Kinesio® Tape on a patient that is a waitress who was overusing her biceps tendon. I put the tape on in a way to inhibit the use of the biceps so that her tendon would perform less work and therefore get some rest. It was not an option for her to stop working in order to rest her arm, so this was a great alternative for her and made a significant difference in her ability to get through her work day.
Some people respond well to this technique, so it is worth looking into to see if it might work for you!