Kinesiotape – Pink tape that makes you run faster?

Kinesiotape

If you watch a sport event these days, one of the most visible sights is the “pink tape” that seems to hold many of the athletes together. Your kids probably think it is pretty cool that their favourite hero is wearing “pink tape”. But what is its really doing…..?

Definitions

Before I give my two cents worth on Kinesiotape, let me offer a few basic definitions to which I refer:

  • Joint – The site of a junction or union between two or more bones of the skeleton (stability is passive in nature).
  • Ligament – Dense, regularly arranged connective tissue that attaches bone to bone (stability is passive in nature).
  • Tendon – A collagen fibre bundle that connects skeletal muscle to bone and transmits muscle contraction force to the bone (active stabilisation can occur).
  • Muscle – Contractile tissue that contracts and releases (active stabilisation can occur).

What is Kinesiotape?

Kinesiotape was developed in the mid 1970’s by a practitioner known as Dr Kenzo Case who was licensed in both Chiropractic and Acupuncture. His approach to this exciting method of taping was to create something with a very similar texture to the human skin, so as to facilitate movement; as most sports tapes were quite rigid, limiting joint mobility.

The thinking around this was to develop a taping technique that supported and assisted the muscles and tendons and not necessarily the joints and ligaments.

Why would one want to do this?

The answer basically lies in the fact that often pain, immobility and dysfunction of joints is caused from muscular dysfunction. In other words, joints and ligaments, which are merely passive structures, become overused due to lack of strength or poor biomechanics.

Stabilising the joint would merely be treating the symptom but assisting the functioning of the muscle would be addressing the cause.

The Kinesiotape method involves applying the tape around and over the muscles in order to prevent “over contraction” (which causes muscular cramping and tearing) and to offer support to the muscle. With support, it still allows full range of motion and hence movement function.

Is Kinesiotape like “Peel on” Biokinetics?

Kinesiotape should be used in conjunction with rehabilitative exercise and muscle function re-education. Merely slapping on some funky coloured tape makes the muscles look pretty cool but without education on WHY the tape has been applied, the athlete will generally continue to move “around” their source of dysfunction and not “through” it by moving “into” the area of weakness, pain or instability.

Is Kinesiotape a replacement for rigid taping methods?

NO! Sometimes there are times when joints NEED to be stabilised in order to prevent further damage to them whilst the muscles are rehabilitated. Muscles can be trained through “isometric” training which is basically activating the muscle without it moving.

Can I put on my own Kinesiotape?

Unless you have detailed knowledge on anatomy and biomechanics or have been taught where and how to apply for a specific injury, self-application will mostly result in a fashion accessory. Your physiotherapist, biokineticist, chiropractor or other health care practitioner who has a taping background should assist you with the application.

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