Oct 12, 2017Kinesiology Tape Isn’t Just for the Pros
How It Can Help Athletes at Every Stage Fight Pain and Find Relief
By Hillary Oberpeul
From high school training rooms to the big screen of professional sports, athletes everywhere have been seen sporting kinesiology tape. But is it really that helpful? Find out how kinesiology tape can benefit your athletes, no matter what age, stage or skill level they may be at.
How Kinesiology Tape Can Help Your Athletes
You’ve probably used kinesiology tape before, and if not, you’ve definitely heard the buzz around it. This stretchy, cotton fiber tape is latex free and often comes in bright, fun colors. It helps support joints and muscles while temporarily reducing pain. This is thought to happen because of the gate control theory—where an outside stimulus (kinesiology tape) is attached to the skin, and the sensation created overrides the pain signals going into the brain. Kinesiology tape can help in acute injury situations as well as being an aid to recovery. You can use kinesiology tape for all sorts of support, such as achilles, ankle, knee, shoulder, neck and back issues.
You may have heard that kinesiology tape can also reduce acute swelling or enhance your athletes’ performance. However, there isn’t much research out there to prove whether or not kinesiology tape actually does those things. So remember to have realistic expectations for your tape job—it’s a helpful tool, but it won’t fix everything for your athletes.
What to Look For
There are a ton of brands out there offering kinesiology tape, which can make choosing the right one a little confusing. Here’s what you want in your kinesiology tape:
● It stays put and doesn’t irritate the skin. The adhesion of a kinesiology tape is where its power comes from. Meant to last multiple days, this tape shouldn’t peel up or get loose before it’s supposed to. TheraBand ® Kinesiology Tape has been proven to stick better than KT Tape® Pro and Kinesio® Tex Gold™ tape over a five day period, meaning it allows athletes to reap the benefits of kinesiology tape for a longer period—without having to reapply. That said, make sure the adhesive is also allergy tested to prevent any skin reactions.
● It doesn’t restrict your range of motion. Kinesiology tape is meant to be used on athletes, and athletes move. The support it provides is only useful if it doesn’t cut off circulation or impede performance. Look for a tape that provides a good balance between support and restriction.
● It’s easy to use. This might be the most important point—if you’re not confident using the tape, will you actually try it? You want a kinesiology tape that shows you exactly how much tension you’re using, so you can apply it correctly (according to professional instructions) every time. TheraBand Kinesiology Tape is the only kinesiology tape with XactStretch™ indicators to make your life easier. The visual hexagon stretch indicators right on the tape eliminate misapplication, even if you’ve never used it before. Just stretch the small hexagon until it’s equal on all sides for 25% stretch. Do the same for the large hexagon if you need 50% stretch. It’s that easy! No guesswork, no intimidation, no wasted tape and no worries.
Applying Kinesiology Tape Correctly
Since kinesiology tape is such a versatile pain relief tool, it has a large range of application methods. Check out our videos and how-to instructions to find common taping tactics from expert healthcare professionals. No matter what type of taping technique you’re using, be sure you remember to do the following with TheraBand Kinesiology Tape:
Break the paper backing about two inches from the end of the tape strip. Remove the two inches of paper backing, and discard it.
Stick the two inch strip of tape with exposed adhesive to the skin, making sure that this “anchor” has 0% stretch. This anchor keeps your tape job secure, and allows the stretch in the rest of your tape job to work.
3. Peel (Partially)
Remove all but the last two inches of the paper backing from the remaining tape (you
want another anchor at the far end of the strip).
Pull the tape until the small hexagon is equal on all sides, indicating you’ve reached 25% stretch. For 50% stretch, pull until the large hexagon is equal on all sides.
Gently apply the stretched tape into place, starting from the anchor and working your way to the end of the tape (the final anchor).
Remove the rest of the backing and stick the final anchor to the skin (remembering that anchors should have 0% stretch). Use the paper backing to smooth the full strip of kinesiology tape into the skin. This creates friction to activate the adhesive, so it adheres properly.
Armed with the right tape, how-to videos and a few helpful tips, you’ll be ready to apply
kinesiology tape in no time. Here’s a short list to keep the basics in mind:
● Prep the skin before you apply the tape. Wash the application area to remove dirt, oil, creams or lotions. Remove hair in the application area.
● Measure twice, cut once. Make sure that the tape is the proper length, then round the corners so they don’t catch on clothing (and peel away). You can also try precut strips.
● Remember to break the paper backing through the tape, keeping about two inches of paper on the end so you don’t touch the adhesive.
● Anchor your tape. Regardless of the specified stretch, always apply the last two inches of tape without stretch. This keeps your tape job anchored in place.
● Rub the tape to activate its adhesion. To make sure that your tape sticks like it’s supposed to, be sure you rub it into the skin after you’ve placed it. This allows the tape to properly adhere to your skin. You can use the removed paper backing to do this without risking peeling up your tape job.
● Keep it dry. For at least 60 minutes, have your athlete avoid exercise or showering to let the adhesive properly bond with their skin.
● Take it off slowly. To avoid irritating the skin, press down on the bare skin closest to the tape being removed as you (or your athlete) slowly pull the tape back.
Kinesiology tape is a great addition to the athletic training toolkit, and it can benefit your athletes right away. No matter the sport, age or skill level, TheraBand Kinesiology Tape can help your athletes find pain relief. Click here to try out the XactStretch technology for yourself and see the difference for yourself.