Using kinesiology tape on injuries and to improve performance has been quite the controversial topic since it gained popularity in the early 2000s. In the 2012 Olympics, dozens of athletes donned the colourful flexi-tape. Some professionals think that kinesiology tape is more of a flashy fashion statement more than a tool for helping prevent injury or performance enhancer.
Today, there are over 50 kinesiology tape brands on the market, and the list is ever growing. The original kinesiology tape was invented by Japanese chiropractor Dr. Kenzo Kase. Dr. Kase invented the tape because he was searching for a treatment that enhanced the body’s natural healing abilities without restricting the movement of the patient. Many other athletic tapes are restrictive and do not allow movement in joints or muscles.
Many athletes, especially runners, marathon bikers, or volleyball players, use kinesiology tape to enhance performance or prevent injury. Kinesiology tape is seen splayed in patterns on athletes’ legs and knees, backs and shoulders or abs, and in many different colours and patterns. This therapeutic tape is applied strategically to an athlete’s body and it provides support, lessens pain, reduces swelling and ultimately improves their performance.
Kinesiology tape has lots of fans or enthusiasts who praise its power of helping them and achieving these claims but there definitely needs to be more clinical research to back them up.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?
Kinesiology tape is as stretchy as it is sticky. It is made with a blend of cotton and nylon and it’s designed to mimic your own skin’s elasticity. This is so you can continue to use your full range of motion even while wearing it. You are also able to wear it for three to five days, as it is water-resistant and strong enough to last that long. Even while you workout, or even shower.
Because kinesiology tape decompresses the skin and tissue it is applied to, it can actually change the pain signals being sent to your brain. Physical therapists use kinesiology tape on tense, knotted muscles, which then results in them being decompressed and sending different signals to the brain. Patients found that tension in these muscles disappeared. Kinesiology tape can also reduce the pain found in trigger points, and flexibility increased for those who used kinesiology tape in conjunction with manual pressure.
Kinesiology tape also may improve blood circulation of blood and other fluids. If you become injured, your doctor might suggest you start to use kinesiology tape on and around the injury site. Once blood flow and other liquids are better able to circulate through your body and your injury, it will help your body’s natural healing processes. Such as the drainage of lymphatic fluids, which helps reduce swelling and keeps new fluid entering the injury to heal it.
Kinesiology tape can be used in a myriad of other applications. It can be used for preventing and treating injuries. This includes, but is not limited to, injuries related to the ankle.
How Can Kinesiology Tape Help With Ankle Injuries?
Taping your ankle with kinesiology tape can help to give it support, stability and compression on the ankle joint. It can alleviate swelling, bruising and reduce overall pain after you experience an accident that injures it. Once applied, it can prevent reinjury and allows you to continue to walk on it, depending on the severity of the injury
But in order to reap the rewards of using kinesiology tape, you must be applying it correctly either on your own or by a medical practitioner. There can be a fine line between an ankle that is well taped or one that is taped too tight or too loosely and doesn’t provide adequate support.
The use of athletic tape has been around since the ‘70s when it was invented. Although there are many new, trendy and colourful tapes being added to the market all the time, it has been used for decades to provide athletes with ankle mobility! So its use as a treatment for ankle injury comes as no surprise. For years it was used as a solution for patients that had sprained their ankle or who suffered from chronic ankle instability.
When To Use Ankle Taping
Of course, how you treat your ankle all depends on the severity of the injury. However, early ankle mobility has been proven to be key in faster recovery. While your ankle might need immobilization for a period of time, laying off your ankle for too long might negatively affect it. No movement at all while it heals might result in your muscles atrophying. Movement using something such as kinesiology tape that provides stability and support during the healing process is quite the benefit when healing the tissue.
Since ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries among athletes, kinesiology tape has been a popular prevention tool for preventing it. Using kinesiology tape to provide ankle stability can be effective. Although if you suspect you have suffered from an ankle sprain, then you should consult a licensed medical professional before attempting to treat it yourself.
When Not To Use Ankle Taping
One reason to not use kinesiology tape is when you are simply using it to mask your pain. While kinesiology tape can be used to reduce pain, it should never be used solely to mask pain. Additionally, if you still feel pain in your ankle while putting pressure or using it functionally, you might still be damaging the tissues and interrupting the healing process or making it worse.
You might also want to choose an alternative to ankle taping if you don’t know how or don’t have a medical professional available to you who can apply it or teach you how to apply it on yourself. In this case, it might be better to use an ankle brace as it is easier to apply, and can be a quicker solution.
You should also stop using ankle tape and other treatments if you are able to use your ankle properly and able to put weight onto it. This will help you stimulate your body’s natural sense of body awareness and helps return its natural detection of pressure. This is important for your ability to regulate your body’s sensory processing. Keeping tape on your ankle for prolonged periods of time reduces your body’s ability to do this naturally.
Rhett Desormeaux is a content writer currently working with BreezeMaxWeb. He’s a passionate writer and loves studying ancient history, especially Bronze Age civilizations.