What does Kinesiotape do?
If you asked some patients they would swear it was magical! Like most things in therapy it is not a magic solution, but it is one tool in the tool box of things we can use to try to improve your pain and function. Straight from their website, Kinesiotape is, "a definitive rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion as well as providing extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting."
That is a mouthful- what does all that mean?
Kinesiotape can help with pain and swelling. It does this by stabilizing a joint, facilitating or inhibiting a muscle group, or lifting the skin to allow for more blood flow and lymphatic drainage. All of this rests in how the tape is applied. Kinesiotape has more elasticity than regular athletic tape so it can be pulled to different amounts of tension to accomplish different goals. Because of this stretch, the tape can be worn while doing just amount any type of activity without feeling as restrictive as other types of tape. The tape is also waterproof so it can be work in a pool, while sweating, etc. Regular athletic tape loses a majority of its effectiveness when wet.
Is it right for you?
There are many diagnoses that your physical therapist would consider Kinesiotape- some of the more common ones being patellofemoral pain or instability, abnormal posture, muscle spasm, ankle sprains, achilles tendonitis, and lateral epicondylitis. The research on Kinesiotape is still not definitive to say it is helpful, or even does exactly what it is aiming to do. However, most patients feel it either helps or does nothing, but there is little to no risk of making pain worse. As long as it is being used in conjunction with other aspects of therapy it very likely to be a safe an effective intervention.
Katie DuFrene, PT, DPT, LAT
Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer