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The Benefits of Kinesio Taping in Physical Therapy

Chances are high that you have seen either someone at your gym, a colleague, classmate, sports team member, friend, or family member with colored tape applied in an interesting manner on one of their body parts. Ever wonder what that tape is and what it is doing?

That tape you saw was likely kinesio tape, referred to as k-tape for short. K-tape is a thin, elastic tape used for a wide variety of therapeutic diagnoses for both treatment and prevention of injuries. It can be stretched up to 40-60% of its original length and is applied in unique manner in order to achieve a specific goal(s) from the list explained below. K-tape is best used in conjunction with therapeutic exercises and other modalities (ice, heat, ultrasound, E-stim to mention a few) for the most effective results. All of these treatments can be included in a physical therapy (PT) plan of care!

What is Kinesio Tape (K-Tape) Used For?

According to a research study “Kinesio taping for treatment and prevention of sports injuries” by Williams and others, k-tape can help to:

  • Relieve pain in muscles and joints: by reducing pressure on pain receptors in the skin and stimulation of sensory pathways
  • Decrease swelling and reduce bruising patterns: by lifting layers of the skin to increase blood and lymph circulationKinesio Tape example on leg
  • Increase proprioception/balance: through stimulation of skin receptors, providing the body with information regarding joint movements and positions
  • Increase range of motion: through increasing blood flow and therefore reducing motion restrictions, along with providing sensory feedback that is shown to reduce fear of movement
  • Improve postural awareness: through stimulation of sensory pathways to increase muscle feedback
  • Control muscle spasms and reduce trigger points: through increased circulation properties explained above
  • Increase strength: by producing small forces/sensations to the muscle therefore producing a contraction

K-tape is made in a breathable, latex-free, cotton fiber adhesive material. This combination allows for an allergy-free, comfortable, and gentle experience for the patient! The tape can be worn for 3-5 days following application in order to be as effective as possible. Your physical therapist will then assess for changes and improvements at your next session. They will continue application until the goal is fully achieved.

Your physical therapist can also help educate you on how to properly apply the tape on your own when you are discharged from therapy in order to continue to feel the benefits when needed. Come see what k-tape and physical therapy is all about by contacting EPTG in Hoboken,  Jersey City or Weehawken to help relieve your pain and reach your goals!

Lauren Rosenzweig, PT, DPT

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