AZ Physical Therapy Explains Kinesio Taping: Myth vs. Fact

May 11, 2016

Delicia Johnson

by Delicia Johnson
PTA, CKTP | Arrowhead Location

The AZ Physical Therapy experts at our Foothills Sports Medicine clinics are dedicated to helping you fully recover from pain and injury, so you can get back to doing the activities you enjoy. Our therapists create individualized plans for each patient to ensure you are getting the treatment that is ideal for your body. They also offer a free assessment of your physical therapy needs, which can be scheduled online here. For more information and advice about AZ physical therapy, check out our blog!
Delicia Johnson is an Arizona native, PT assistant, and Certified Kinesio Tape Practitioner. She is here today to explain what Kinesio Tape is, how it works, and to dispel commonly held myths.
Kinesio Taping is a therapeutic technique that utilizes a uniquely designed elastic tape to enhance function in many different tissues and body systems. Since becoming a certified Kinesio Tape Practitioner (CKTP), I have realized that most patients are not familiar with this method. Patients often struggle to understand how putting a special kind of tape on their muscles will be beneficial to recovery – so here are the facts and myths about this revolutionary new method of taping.
Myth: All athletic tapes are uncomfortable and perform the same function.
Fact: Different tapes have different properties and were created for varying purposes.           
Most people are familiar with the “white” athletic tape and its use in McConnell taping methods. Traditional McConnell taping is used to restrict mobility for the purpose of injury prevention, or to allow the wearer to exercise or play a sport in spite of an injury. As a result, athletic tape can feel very restrictive and be irritating to the skin. Traditional tapes are meant to be worn for no more than a few hours at a time and are designed for a single use during a specific activity. White tape has a poor adhesive quality when wet and is not meant to be applied directly to the skin.
Kinesio Tape, on the other hand, has a much different purpose and a dramatically different design and feel. It is constructed of 100% cotton, and it is elastic, hypoallergenic, and latex-free. Its thickness and weight is designed to be similar to that of natural skin, which allows for full functional movement and far less restriction than traditional tapes. It can also be worn for up to 5 consecutive days and is water resistant.
Myth: Kinesio Tape is only for athletes
Fact: Kinesio Tape can be beneficial to all types of patients.
While Kinesio Tape is regularly seen on professional athletes, it can help a wide variety of patients. In fact, 85% of Kinesio Tape techniques were developed for non-athletic uses. I have personally utilized Kinesio Taping methods to assist my patients with postural correction, muscle facilitation and inhibition, joint support, and to help reduce pain and inflammation. I’ve witnessed positive results for patients of all ages and at varying activity levels. Kinesio Taping is appropriate for all stages of treatment. It can be used for acute injuries, chronic issues, and even to prevent re-injury.
Myth: Anyone can apply Kinesio Tape
Fact: Only certified professionals should apply it
Many people believe that anyone can apply Kinesio Tape, because it seems like a simple technique. In reality, correct application is complicated and requires a more in-depth knowledge of human physiology. While you can find self-help videos on the internet claiming it is easy to apply, this is most often not the case, and the tape itself is ineffective if applied incorrectly. Many Kinesio Taping techniques require specific patient movements during application, or they require a certain percentage of tension to be applied to the tape in a specific direction. This makes it very challenging to apply without medical training and knowledge of the underlying anatomy. Prior to taping, a professional diagnosis is essential. Patients who might benefit from Kinesio Taping are recommended to first have a PT evaluation to assess the problem accurately.
Myth: Kinesio Tape is a cure-all
Fact: Kinesio Tape is one step in the recovery process
While I am a strong proponent of Kinesio Tape, it is important to address the idea that it will solve all of your physical therapy problems. Kinesio Tape is classified by our clinic as a modality, meaning it is a temporary assistive method meant to help patients through the recovery process. When applied correctly, it is a valuable tool that can be used as a stepping stone towards recovery. However, it should be just one part of a holistic treatment plan.
If you think Kinesio Tape might be right for you, feel free to contact your local Foothills Sports Medicine AZ physical therapy clinic for more information!

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