Kinesio Tape, Rock Tape, KT Tape - these are all different brands of what is called kinesiology tape. They do essentially the same thing but have different amounts of stretch, widths and other minor properties. They can help you recover from an injury while allowing you to still be active. Lots of things can happen to your muscles as a result of an injury. The tape is used to help improve the activation of (turn on) a muscle that isn't firing as it should, turn off a muscle that has been overworked, or stabilize an area when a brace may be too supportive for the level of injury. Braces can be bulky when playing an active sport so tape is a lighter and more flexible option. Another way the taping helps is by just being present, your body is more aware of the taped area and this awareness will help you better activate certain muscles - such as for posture. It can be used for decreasing swelling also!
To tape in a way to turn on or turn off a muscle, knowledge of muscle location and function is needed, so you will need to consult with a professional trained in taping and who is aware of your particular situation. Most people, who tape themselves, tape as a way to have some support. KT Tape has a lot of great videos online for taping different injuries. Some patients of mine have taped themselves so frequently that they know exactly which placement of the tape helps with their symptoms the most.
Some brands of kinesiology tape are hypoallergenic but everyone is different so if you notice itchiness or redness please remove the tape as soon as possible.
HOW LONG DO YOU WEAR THE TAPE?
I use tape for my patients during rehab to help them perform exercises that are too painful to perform without the tape. We tape more frequently (once a week) to start and then wean from there. The timing of this is dependent on each person's needs. Patients may still need to tape for competitions or more intense activities for a while. This is because the tape can help decrease pain which will result in better performance while you are still recovering from an injury. However, we want the body to learn how to move without the tape eventually. Once taped, most people will wear it for a few days until the adhesive wears off. Depending on your activities or product, the tape will stay on for 2-5 days. On day 5, I recommend removing the tape because wearing it too long can lead to skin breakdown. Assess your skin. Never reapply if your skin looks like it is red or breaking down.
HOW TO REMOVE THE TAPE
The best way to remove the tape is to use coconut oil, vegetable oil or an adhesive remover. Cover the edge of the tape with oil or remover and slowly peel the tape off of your skin. Add more oil or remover as needed. Never rip the tape off quickly like you would a band-aid. This can damage your skin. Avoid heating up the tape to remove it because this actually makes the tape stick more and makes it more difficult to peel off. Good luck! I wish you limited discomfort in this process.
THE TAPE IS NOT MAGIC
All of this said, there is not a lot of research to support this type of taping for injury recovery. I generally do not start with taping patients until we have tried other things first because of this reason. Everyone is different so I like to try different treatment methods to see what works best for each person especially if my initial attempts at helping a patient recover from their injury are slower than expected. Besides skin issues, there aren't many negatives to at least trying it. If the taping does work for you, just remember the goal is to get away from taping so your body can function without it.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
If you you are wondering if taping would work for you, text me at (512)763-0556. I am happy to find a time we can talk about what is going on and your next best steps.
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