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How Kinesiology Tape Works

WHY DO YOU HAVE THAT TAPE ON YOUR LEG?” and other questions answered about Therapeutic Taping. (Part 1 of 2)

By Dr. Michael Cerami

Mark my words; Therapeutic taping will become a significant part of injury treatment over the next 2 years. You will see dozens of athletes using it at the Olympics this summer as well as riders at the Tour de France and soccer players in the World Cup next summer. As more and more physicians and therapists use tape to treat athletes, we are finding solutions to treating injuries quicker by expanding our use of tape.

Kinesiology Taping was “originated” in the 1970’s by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a chiropractor from Japan. It started to catch on in the mid 90’s and was seen most prominently by the public at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This type of tape has 15% elasticity built into it and can be stretched up to 100% which makes it completely different from the taping methods that were used when we were children.

I know it sounds strange, weird, and almost impossible to believe that tape, stuck to the skin, can help heal injuries, but it really does and it continues to amaze me. My first experience with taping occurred a few years back when I was training in Atlanta with a colleague that works with NFL players. One of the linemen for the Dallas Cowboys was being treated for a foot injury, and the final piece of the treatment was taping his foot in a way that prevented external rotation. After seeing the tape used on patients for all sorts of problems and the instant improvement they experienced, I started using it in my practice and witnessed immediate results.

Therapeutic Taping can be used to achieve 4 main objectives:

  1. For muscles: Increase contraction, decrease fatigue, decrease over-contraction, and reduce soreness.
  2. Congestion Flow: increase blood and lymph circulation, remove negative chemical substances, and decrease inflammation.
  3. Gate Control Theory of Pain: Increase Spinal inhibitory impulse, Increase descending inhibition.
  4. Joint Correction: Improve alignment, Increase range of motion, decrease pain.

Because some of these applications explore concepts that are beyond the scope of this article, let’s focus on the 3 main things self-taping can do for you.

  1. Facilitate or inhibit a muscle: Application of tape is used to reduce the stress on overused muscles and allow underused muscles to be used.
  2. Give support to the joint: For runners, ankles (ligaments) and knees (patellar tracking) respond very well to taping and in many cases allow the athlete to continue exercising.
  3. Reduce pain and inflammation: It is theorized that the wave pattern on the tape has a raising effect on the skin, increasing circulation in the connective tissue thereby relieving pressure on the blood and nerve vessel pain receptors.  As a result, many patients have seen a reduction in swelling, inflammation, and pain.

If you will do me a favor and check out these sites this month (http://www.kttape.com/instructions/ http://rocktape.com/video-page/ ). I’ll spend some time in next month’s article reviewing specific and complex taping methods to help you recover and prevent injuries.

Dr. Michael Cerami is an avid runner, cyclist and triathlete. He is available for a no charge consultation one Saturday per month at The Salt Lake Running Company (700 East store) by appointment. He can be reached at 801-486-1818 or online at www.utahsportsandwellness.com

 

 

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