Kinesiotaping – functional or just fashion

Kinesiotaping is a method of treatment for injured musculature/tendons, administered during physical therapy originating in the 1970s.  This type of tape was developed to replicate the natural movement and elasticity of muscle/soft tissue.  It is able to stretch up to 120-140% of its original length.  Common patient complaints that would warrant the use of kinesiotaping would include: muscle pain, weakness, abnormal movement patterns, joint distortion, and decreased or increased fluid flow/drainage.  Kinesiotaping is mainly utilized for its effects in re-educating the neuromuscular system, pain reduction, improved circulation of fluid (blood or lymphatic fluid), support, healing of damaged muscle, and prevention of further injury during normal ADL or physical activities.  The ultimate goal is to optimize the way the muscle/joint complex moves/works, reacquainting the muscle with proprioceptive facilitation, muscle facilitation, reducing delayed onset muscle soreness and reducing muscle fatigue.  Kinesiotaping can be utilized along with other modalities commonly seen in physical therapy, including ice, heat, ultrasound, e-stim, etc. Kinesiotape is used short term and can be worn for days of relief and support after application.   The recoiling feature of the tape, which is heat activated, helps with realignment of muscles, promote proper joint motion, and decreased pressure on the nociceptors, which are pain detectors.

Kinesiotaping is a great option for patients with varying ages, diagnosis, sedentary lifestyle to very athletic individuals, suffering with conditions.  Two conditions, in particular, that would benefit from this treatment are Plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a very common cause for heel pain.  Pain is experienced, at its most, in morning when taking your first step and slowly decreases with stretching and ambulation to start the day.  It is a degeneration of the plantar fascia located on the bottom of the heel.  Small microtears cause inflammation, which in turn causes pain and discomfort.  Probable causes include wearing an unsupported pair of shoes, a muscle imbalance causing over pronation of the foot, and overuse like running consistently for an extended period of time.  Kinesio taping will be utilized to help take stress off of the plantar fascia allowing it ample time to heal.  Also, it helps to decrease swelling and alleviating the pain.

Achilles Tendinitis is another overuse injury described as an inflammation of the Achilles tendon located on the lower back part of your leg above your heel.  This injury is common in those who dramatically increase the duration of runs, or increase the intensity of the run, without a gradual build up.  It is mostly common in middle-aged people who play sports or recreational activities only once or twice a week or “weekend warriors.”  The pain normally begins as a ache in the back of your lower leg, tenderness when touching, stiffness of the gastrocs.  Kinesio taping will be utilized to improve circulation, pain relief, increase function of the tendon, decompression, and ROM increase.

Kinesiotaping can be done in different areas all over your body and can be placed in different angles and tensions.  These can be placed in Y shapes (which are used for larger muscles like the shoulder), I shapes (which are used for smaller straight muscles), and X shapes (which are used for large and long muscles such as the rectus femoris).  These formations are similar to that of the underlying tissue fiber formation that the tape is attempting to replicate.  Each muscle group taping can appear different on each patient and the specific need determined by the physical therapist.  A full assessment will be completed by your physical therapist before the need for this intervention will be utilized.  Anyone from children, the elderly, and sports athletes can benefit from the effect of Kinesiotape.  Extensive education has been absorbed by physical therapist on these exact methods of diagnosis and intervention selection that allows the patient the best treatment available.  Taping can improve the prognosis of a patient’s injury and decrease healing time, while allowing the patient to remain fully functional.

After extensive anatomy and kinesiology training, Dr. Heather Moore of Total Performance Physical Therapy, has perfected this treatment method and is eager to share her knowledge to aide in your rehabilitation.  Contact Total Performance Physical Therapy for an appointment, making the first step on your journey to recovery.


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