If you have watched any sporting event or CrossFit comp recently you will see athletes adorned in strange patterns of brightly coloured tape. Kinesio tape is being worn as a badge of honour amongst the dedicated and slightly injured. So how does it work and why are athletes taping themselves together?
First of all not all tape is equal and not all works in the same way.
Rigid Strapping Tape - this is as described- less elastic, made of denser fibres and is used to add support or reduce movement from an injured joint. A power lifter may strap their knees to support their quads as they squat or you may see a gymnast strap around their wrists before performing a difficult floor routine. The tape comes in a number of thicknesses and widths to suit different applications and needs. Rigid strapping tape is designed to support hi stress activities but cannot safe guard and injury or further damage.
Kinesiology Tape works differently from strapping tape.It's applied to the body to help promote muscle recovery and enhance muscle activity rather than provide support. It works differently when applied to different areas of the body but in general the external tape helps improve blood flow and supports the damaged tissues beneath it allowing the body to heal. Kinesiology Tape is applied along muscular or fascial typically using one or 2 strips going in different directions. The tape is super sticky making it durable to wear in sports and incredibly elastic so it will flex and move with your body.
Physiotherapists and Sports Specialist are often trained on how to tape different injuries or concerns. Taping is non evasive and considered safe to be applied without professional guidance ( do it yourself) and there are a number of videos and tips as to how tape can be applied but remember that its always best to get persistent sports injuries and concerns checked out by your doctor or Physio.