Friday, 11 December 2015

Kinesiology Taping : What Is It and How Can It Help?

It's been increasingly common to see sports people walking onto the track, pitch or court with brightly coloured strips of tape adorning their bodies. This tape is known as KT or kinesiology tape, and aside from becoming a bit of a fashion statement it is much more than that.

So what is it?

KT was developed in the 1970's by Dr Kenzoto correct muscle abnormalities around painful joints. It was designed to be the same thickness as the epidermis, breathable and flexible so as to become almost unnoticeable once it's on. 

How does it differ from athletic taping?

Athletic taping is designed to immobilise rather than support, with the aim of protecting the muscles. This can inhibit blood circulation, unlike KT which promotes the circulation, normalises muscle function and allows full range of movement. Both serve a purpose and it's important to use the right one.

What can it be used for?

It can help to reduce bruising and swelling by increasing the circulation of blood and the lymphatic system, speeding up the healing process. It is also useful for pain relief, can help weak muscles, reposition joints, normalise muscle function and improve proprioception (feedback from muscles and joints). It's very effective for postural correction but shouldn't be relied upon.

How does it work?

For pain relief, KT lifts the skin away from the fascia; less pressure means less pain! This also creates more space for blood flow which helps with healing. The direction of taping, the position the limb is in when being taped and the amount of stretch applied to the tap before adhesion to the skin, all alter the affect the tape will have. Taping from the origin of the muscle to the insertion point excites the muscle whereas the opposite inhibits it, so there are many different ways of taping, depending on what you need to achieve.


Here are a few examples of some of the more common taping techniques. 
Ankle sprain 1

Ankle sprain 2
Tennis elbow

Postural correction
Achilles Tendon taping
Plantar Fascia taping

Who can administer KT?

Many osteopaths are trained in the application of KT as are an increasing number of personal trainers. 

Is it for me?

KT should be used in conjunction with corrective exercises or appropriate therapy and not relied upon. It is an intermediate measure and not a cure. It can be useful to get you through a competition or event but if there is an ongoing problem, this needs to be addressed.

Have you ever used KT? Did it help?

No comments:

Post a Comment