Kinesio taping techniques, or sports taping—which supports and stabilises joints and muscles without rigidly restricting the natural range of motion—delivers results that in earlier eras would have been unimaginable in the treatment of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological and medical conditions.
The pioneer of Kinesio taping techniques was Dr Kenzo Kase, whose 1970s research was spurred by the limitations he had encountered with earlier rigid taping methods on his own patients.
Kase’s research revealed that it was more effective to tape around the muscle rather than immobilise the joint, but he was hampered by the athletic tapes of the day, which were rigid, and specifically designed to immobilze the joint.
Kase’s solution, Kinesio® Tex Tape, had the texture and elasticity of living human skin, and which he named after kinesiology and kinesthesis, the scientific study of the physiological, biomechanical and psychological mechanisms of human and non-human body moment.
In the 21st century, sports taping is an integral skill of the physiotherapist, but sports taping or kinesio taping techniques should never be taken for granted. There are at least 5 ways to ensure sports taping will be most effective for any injury.
1. Skin Preparation
Through ‘prep’ is paramount on our list of to-dos to ensure the effectiveness of Kinesio taping techniques. The skin around the area to be taped should be cleaned to remove any dirt, skin oil or creams. You don’t want to leave anything that will hamper the tape’s stickiness. If there is body hair, you will want to ensure minimum discomfort upon removal of the tape, so consider shaving or using underwrap with the adhesive tape. Underlays can also help to prevent tape cuts in tender areas.
2. Positioning of the Joint
This is another vital point, which determines the effectiveness of Kinesio taping techniques. The position in which the joint is taped is key to the outcome of the treatment. Your physiotherapist has the know-how to identify the positions in which the joint, muscle or ligaments is at risk, and will tape to restrict movement away from that ‘at risk’ position.
3. Use of Premium Product
Premium quality taping products will also provide the best results from the Taping process. In this area, you really do get what you pay for.
4. Proper Application of Tape
This is another area in which the trained physiotherapist will have the expertise to ensure that the taping is appropriately pressured so as to eliminate the risk of tape cuts. But they will also be acutely aware of the line of pull or direction of force exerted by the joints and muscles (skeletal attachments, tendons and the overall axis of movement) in the area(s) to be taped.
5. Ensuring Correct Blood Flow
A trained physiotherapist will also ensure that the taping does not impact on flow to the extremities that are ‘distal’ or not immediately proximate to the taped area. This simple process is vital to ensure the effectiveness of kinesio taping techniques.