Those colorful tapes called Kinesio tape. It catches your eye like a dollar bill on the street. Many athletes used it in major sporting event like Olympic. I am not an Olympian, but I truly enjoy being outdoors and even more so I actually love to exercise. This year I will complete my 9th Seattle to Portland bike ride and my 4th Tough Mudder obstacle mud run. It is a necessity to train hard for months before these events. As an athlete I would do anything to decrease muscle soreness and enhance my performance (excluding the use of illegal substances). Well, here is my question; can Kinesio tape help enhance performance and lower muscle soreness?
According to the Kinesio tape official website, Kinesio taping technique helps to promote the body’s natural healing process by supporting the targeted joints and muscles without limited its range of motion. It also helps to facilitates lymphatic drainage and helps to alleviates pain. It helps to prolong the benefits of manual (hands on) therapy. Also, Kinesio taping technique helps to improve performance with reducing pain and inflammation.
Let’s get nerdy! According to the Kinesio tape official website, Kinesio taping techniques help to promote the body’s natural healing process by supporting the joints and muscles without limiting its range of motion. It also helps to facilitate lymphatic drainage and alleviates pain. It is a tool to prolong the benefits of manual (hands on) therapy. Last but not least, Kinesio taping technique helps to improve performance with reducing pain and inflammation.
Okay, this special tape sounds like the “holy grail” of sports and rehab world. It sounds too good to be true, right? Let’s see what the scientists said about Kinesio tape (not Wikipedia or some random opinions from internet).
Will Kinesio tape increase your strength and endurance?
The answer is both yes and no. Research shows increased grip strength and better muscular control with Kinesio tape applications. On the downside some researchers have shown no significant effect on enhancing muscle performance in athletes such as rugby and soccer players. Even though Kinesio tape may not increase strength during sport activities, it does shorten the time for muscles to reach its peak performance.
Will Kinesio tape provide pain relief?
Kinesio tape will not eliminate all of your pain, but it does have a positive effect for pain relief. In order to provide pain relief Kinesio tape must be used along with proper therapeutic exercise program and physical therapy treatment. Kinesio tape must also be applied by a professional; the tape alone has not shown significant pain reduction.
Not only will Kinesio tape help reduce pain when used properly; One of its major features is its ability to improve lymphatic and venous flow. This has been proven in multiple studies by improving circulation and flow, which helps fluid leave an affected area. The end result would be reducing edema and pain.
So, what’s the verdict?
I applied Kinesio tape (Rock tape) to many of my patients as part of a custom physical therapy treatment program. Truth is most of my patients are amazed of how a few strips of tape could improve their function and reduce their pain. Kinesio tape was invented in the 70s, but is it a relatively new technology in the sports and rehab world. More research needs to be done; we must see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
If you have any questions about how Kinesio tape works, or if you think you could benefit from it. Please feel free to contact me at SageMED.