What's that funny tape on their leg? Kinesiotaping for Athletes
Chances are you've come across the concept of kinesiotape. You've seen it, read about it, watched videos, asked your friends, and probably tried it yourself. Whether you found it valuable might have depend on your application technique. Kinesiology tape is not something new as it was created back in the 1970s. The origins of the tape were a valiant attempt to create a tape that would assist in the healing of damaged tissue as opposed to taping techniques at that time which were designed to provide "support and reinforcement." Kinesiology taping is definitely not a method that has shown widespread scientific backing but chances for this lie in the fact that there have not been a large number of studies performed to date. This does not mean there is not some value to be found in the tape. To improve the value of the tape you need to understand some simple concepts when it comes to the application.
Less is More - while the tape has the capability of doubling its length when pulled, most applications will not require much more than the manufactured length (when attached to the paper backing). This concept is due to the fact that the tape has a preloaded tension when applied to the paper backing and this degree of stretch is adequate for the more common techniques needed for runners. An easy guide to assess how much tension is loaded on the tape is to measure the tape prior to cutting a strip from the roll. If your are taping from point A to point B then cut the tape 2-3 inches SHORTER than the distance A to B. This will ensure that a gentle stretch of the tape will reach from A to B.
Do Not apply tension on either end of the tape - the ends of the tape are referred to as the anchors. The anchors will peel away from the skin if there is tension on either of end. An anchor (as applied in the example above in #1) should be 1/2 to 1 inch in length on either end. No need to be exact but any shorter and it's almost certain that they will peel away.
Tape with the joint/tissue in a stretched position - The rationale of the recoil of the tape requires any taped tissue to be in a stretched or elongated position. This also helps prevent the tape from peeling off with movement
Tape direction specific - this is a BIG ONE and requires a little working knowledge of anatomy and pathology.
In general, if you want to reduce the awareness (or tone) of a muscle you want to tape from insertion to origin (confusing right?). For most tissues this is going to mean from the end of a muscle further away from the trunk then taping towards the trunk. An example of this is the hamstring group. These muscles begin at the buttocks and travel to the knee. To reduce tone, for say a recently pulled hamstring, you would want to start the tape at the knee and work towards the buttocks.
If you want to increase the awareness (tone) of a muscle you want to tape from origin to insertion or rather from close to the trunk then apply the tape away from the trunk. An example of this would be to improve the action of a weakened muscle. Let's say you were told your piriformis was weak and you wanted the tape to encourage more muscle tone. You would anchor the tape at the tailbone and lay the tape along the muscle towards the outer hip.
Check out our short videos for examples of these concepts
We know some of this might not make sense. Quite honestly, if you haven't specifically attended courses from a company that sells kinesiology tape then it would be easy to get lost in all the videos available online and opinions of those that have used it. We offer these simple guidelines to give you an educated basis for the easiest concepts regarding kinesiology tape. We are always open to provide more detailed instruction for the use of kinesiology tape. Happy Trails!
Taping for a Weakened Muscle
Taping for an Acute/Recently Pulled Muscle
Example of taping the hamstring muscles
If you've tried kinesiotape and haven't been satisfied with your results then send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be glad to discuss the application.
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