Performance athletes worldwide have discovered the benefits of kinesiology tape. The technology in kinesiology tape has allowed athletes to reach their potential and avoid setbacks from injuries. Whether it was watching Kerri Walsh and Misty May win women’s volleyball gold at the Olympics or attending your local race weekend, you have probably seen the bright, vibrant colors of kinesiology tape on an athlete. At the Health-Fit Chiropractic Clinic, we have more clients than ever asking what it’s all about.
Everyone seems to have a different story regarding their tape experience and how it helped them perform in their activity.
Whether it meant achieving a new personal best time in a race, or simply completing a race they never thought possible, kinesiology tape has become a bit of folklore in athletic circles, but what exactly is it and what does it do? Most people seem to wonder how a simple strip of tape could accomplish anything. How can a piece of fabric decrease swelling, support joints, and decrease pain?
First, let’s discuss what kinesiology tape is not!
It is not your run of the mill athletic tape. It will not perform the same mechanical support as a roll of white tape that is wrapped around your ankle to prevent it from moving. It is also not a replacement for standard rehabilitation and therapy that you would receive when you get injured. It is a fantastic tool that works extremely well in conjunction with standard musculoskeletal rehab. However, it will not solve all your issues. If you find yourself injured or in pain, it is recommended that you see a medical professional to be properly assessed and treated.
One of the most important effects of kinesiology tape is providing the body with strength and stability which in turn helps to compensate muscles relax.
So how does it work?
There are two ways to support the joints in the body, extrinsic support and intrinsic support. Simply put extrinsic support when you wrap the joint with athletic tape to externally immobilize the injured joint. Conversely, intrinsic support occurs from proper activation of your musculature internally to help keep a joint braced while being used. Kinesiology tape applies these same principles, activating the muscles resulting in a stabilized joint.
One of the main reasons that kinesiology tapes works relate to how it sits on and interacts with your skin. The tape is made up of a blend of cotton and nylon fabric held onto the skin with an adhesive. It is designed to be the same thickness of the skin and is applied to the skin with a slight stretch in the material. The stretch on the surface of the skin can stimulate nerve endings that are situated within the skin. Without getting too technical, it is this tape to skin interaction which helps mitigate the pain associated with the injury.
The lifting of the skin also allows for increased blood flow and lymphatic drainage at an injury site. We utilize this effect of the tape to help decrease swelling and bruising in acute injuries, and this helps reduce healing times.
This technology has evolved from performance level athletic applications and has become accepted and widely available for the everyday athlete. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a corporate desk jockey, kinesiology tape may play an essential role in your treatment plan.
So, get ready to pick your favorite color and get back to your active lifestyles, just like Kerri Walsh and Misty May right before they won gold in Athens.