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Q&A: Should You Tape Your Injuries?


While watching the London Olympics, I noticed a lot of athletes with “kinesio-tape” on their muscles. What does that stuff do? Will it help me?

 

The Kinesio Taping® Method was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1979. It has become increasingly popular among professional and recreational athletes in recent years.

Kinesio Tape®, or kinesiology tape, is an elastic tape that is applied to the skin and stretched across and around symptomatic muscles and joints. Unlike traditional athletic tape, which is typically wrapped tightly around an injured joint in order to restrict movement and provide increased support, kinesiology tape is thin and flexible, which allows for full movement while providing some support. 

The tape is applied in strips, often in “X” or “Y” configurations, according to the specific physiologic requirements of the athlete and his or her musculoskeletal condition. Thus, proper evaluation and assessment are key to achieving a significant benefit. Once the tape has been applied, it can be left on for several days.

A variety of mechanisms have been proposed to explain how kinesiology tape works. Some practitioners feel that the skin tension provided by the tape allows for enhanced circulation below the skin, including blood and lymphatic flow, which is thought to promote healing. Perhaps the most useful benefit of kinesiology tape is that it provides tactile biofeedback in order to guide the athlete in properly activating the appropriate muscles. It also can help an athlete tolerate exercise in the presence of a painful musculoskeletal condition, which will aid in recovery.

Whether or not kinesiology tape will help your athletic performance will depend on your specific condition and biomechanics. A musculoskeletal assessment from a trained clinician will help guide an effective taping program.

 

ABOUT THIS CONTRIBUTOR

Dr. Jennifer L. Solomon

Dr. Jennifer L. Solomon is a board-certified physiatrist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Her practice is devoted to using non-operative and minimally invasive treatments of spine and sports injuries. Treatments involve a focused effort to combine multiple therapies (including but not limited to exercise, medication, physical therapy, and injection treatments) to provide maximum effectiveness and success. Dr. Solomon serves as a team physician for the United States Tennis Association and has worked at such sporting events as the ING New York City Marathon, other races, and tennis and volleyball tournaments. She participated competitively in junior tennis and is currently an avid cyclist and runner.

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