Kinesiotaping Physical Therapists
Weak or injured muscles can get support as they heal through a process called kinesiotaping.
Kinesiotape is a flexible, elastic tape made especially for adhering to human skin. Like a strong second skin, the tape holds joints in place, while providing an extra layer of support to skeletal muscles.
It’s proven effective for short-term pain relief, too. Find out if kinesiotaping can help you at TRI Physical Therapy in Brooklyn.
Kinesiotape is a revolutionary physical therapy treatment that combines the science of anatomy, physiology and body mechanics. The tape helps your body heal itself by providing support to areas where your muscles are weak and the pain overwhelming.
Leading physical therapists in Brooklyn usually recommend kinesiotaping treatment in conjunction with other treatments, such as:
By using the tape correctly, you get immediate relief from pain, even within hours of an injury. Unlike conventional supports, the tape doesn’t constrict movement. Instead, the elasticity of the fabric tape allows you to move about naturally, while simultaneously supporting the injured muscle.
What Exactly Is Kinesiotape?
Kinesiotape is tape made from 100 percent cotton with elastic intermixed into the material. It’s latex-free. This gives the tape a unique breathable and porous texture. While you’re wearing the kinesiotape, you can swim, take a shower and even exercise, as the tape is water-resistant.
The design of the tape mimics the weight and thickness of actual skin. And because of its elastic nature, the tape can stretch 30 to 40 percent over its original length, thus giving you a larger coverage on your skin. The tape usually stays on your skin for three to four days before you need a fresh kinesiotaping treatment.
Applying the Tape
When you first go for a kinesiotaping session, your physical therapist examines the injury you have and makes note of the pain points. Your skin is then cleaned to remove any body oils or lotions. You may have to shave, if the therapist feels your body hair will impede the tape sticking properly to your skin.
When the area of your skin has been properly prepared, your physical therapist cuts the tape into manageable strips, to fit the location of your pain. The tape can take many forms, such as:
- An “I” strip, for your lower and middle back, rotator cuff issues and Achilles problems
- “Y” strips, to give support to your patella or kneecap
- “X” strips, for sensitive areas like the back of your knees and the front of the elbows, although it’s also the best shape for your hamstrings
- “Fan” strips, to subdue inflammation in your leg or arm
- A “lift” strip, for treating trigger points and muscle knots, and it gives support to injured connective tissues
The corners of the strips are rounded off to prevent the tape from catching on clothes or anything else. Your therapist removes the adhesive back and applies the tape to your skin. As he rubs the tape onto your skin, it generates the heat needed to activate the adhesive so it sticks firmly to your skin. Your therapist may also apply pressure on the areas where you feel the most pain.
The Mechanics of Kinesiotaping
When you injure yourself, the nerve receptors in your skin send pain signals to your brain to alert you of the damage.
Kinesiotaping numbs the nerve receptors by lifting up the outer layers of your skin microscopically. It’s just enough to relieve the immediate pressure felt by the nerve endings, and that translates to less pain messages sent to your brain.
Other ways kinesiotaping helps you recover include:
- Helping your lymphatic fluid drainage to remove toxins from your body
- Aiding your blood circulation to relieve pain
- Decreasing any soft tissue inflammation, including in your joints and muscles, which also reduces your pain
- Supporting weak muscles so they heal more quickly
- Helping overused muscles heal, especially in athletes who do repetitive training
- Keeping cartilage and bones in position during and after an injury
A Cautionary Tale
Kinesiotape is safe for almost everyone to use as there is no medicine in the tape itself. Still, there are some people for whom the therapy may cause other health issues. Your therapist at TRI Physical Therapy in New York City takes a complete medical history before starting the treatment to prevent any side effects.
Some of the reasons why kinesiotaping isn’t for you include:
- You’re allergic to the adhesive of the tape.
- There are open wounds on the area where the tape needs to be affixed.
- You suffer from deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
- You have an active infection in the area.
- You have diabetes, which interferes with the therapy, as you might be suffering from peripheral neuropathy.
- You’ve received any cancer diagnosis.