You may have worn it. You’ll almost certainly have seen athletes using it. But what does kinesio tape do?
It started as a handy aid for athletes. By the middle of the last decade it had become such a common sight that athletes were wearing branded versions of it. In some instances it has almost become a fashion statement. But what is kinesio tape? Why do athletes wear it? And does it work?
What is kinesio tape?
Kinesiology tape is a cotton/nylon blended tape designed to (among other things) improve posture, correct movement, change muscle tone and move lymph fluids.
What does kinesio tape do?
For the purpose of this post, we’ll focus on its use following a knee injury, where it can prove valuable. When you tear a ligament, you also tear the nerves (the proprioceptors) within it that tell your brain where the knee is relative to the rest of your leg. Without active nerves, the risk of reinjury is high.
Tape provides a ‘skin feedback system’ that helps your brain understand what’s going on in the knee in the absence of the nerves that would usually do the job. As an example, people often use the tape following a dislocation of the kneecap. Taping the knee won’t physically prevent you from re-dislocating the knee – the tape doesn’t act as some sort of external ligament replacement – but it does provide your brain with the information to know when you’re putting the joint in peril. Make a movement that places the kneecap at risk of jumping out of its groove, for example, and the tape will give you immediate feedback via a simple tug on the skin to rein in your action.
Does kinesio tape work?
Used as described above, yes, kinesio tape can work as a way of managing a potentially troublesome joint and as an aid to avoiding injury.
Consultant Knee Surgeon at the Yorkshire Knee Clinic
“Mr Newman? He’s a genius in my eyes.”
Glen Jackson, YKC patient
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