Developed in 1973, Kinesio® Taping can be used with patients of any age and condition and during any stage of injury and prevention for 3 to 5 days per application.1 Kinesio tape is latex free, water resistant, and said to mimic the qualities of the skin. The method can be used alongside many other treatment and modality options.1 When applied, the tape has the ability to re-educate the neuromuscular system, reduce pain, enhance performance, prevent injury, and promote good circulation and healing while allowing for normal range of motion.1
There are five main physiological effects of Kinesio tape: skin, circulatory/lymphatic, fascia, muscle, and joint.1
Skin. Application of the tape may reduce pain by easing pressure on pain receptors and decrease swelling by increasing fluid movement.1
Circulatory/lymphatic. Application may speed lymphatic drainage and flow by increasing the amount of space under the skin.1 It is suggested that improved lymph drainage can cause a decrease in pressure on neural receptors under the skin, with a subsequent reduction in pain.1
Fascia. Because all layers of the body are interconnected, application of Kinesio tape on the surface of the skin may affect change in deeper tissue groups.1
Muscle. Application of the tape may have several effects on muscle health and function, such as reduced pain and muscle fatigue, increased range of motion, potential to normalize length/tension ratios, and assistance with tissue recovery.1
Joint. Kinesio tape may assist with improving joint biomechanics and alignment, reducing protective muscle guarding and pain, facilitating ligament and tendon function, and enhancing kinesthetic awareness.1
Kinesio tape is applied with strips in several different shapes. Scissors are used to cut strips in “X,” “I,” “Y,” fan, donut, and web shapes. Strips are also available in pre-cut shapes. The appropriate shape to select is based on the findings of a clinical assessment, what technique will be applied and the subsequent desired effect, and the length and shape of the body area to be treated.
Kinesio Taping techniques involve three steps: (1) assessment/ screening of the individual and injury/condition, (2) application of the tape, and (3) reassessment of the individual.1 Each strip of Kinesio tape contains three zones: a beginning anchor, the therapeutic zone (target tissue), and the base.1 The anchor and base zones are applied to the skin with no additional stretch on the tape, resulting in 0% tension.1 Tension should occur in the therapeutic zone when placed over the target tissue. Tension in the tape is created by applying a stretch or pull to both anchors.
Tension guidelines for the application of Kinesio tape are as follows: super light, 0% to 10%; paper off, 10% to 15%; light, 15% to 25%; moderate, 25% to 35%; severe, ...