Updated: Jan 12, 2021
Kinesio tape has been around since the 1970s, but it really started getting popular in the last 10 years or so. I especially remember seeing many of the summer Olympic athletes training and competing with it at the turn of the millennia.
It is advertised to help create space in joints and improve circulation as well as support weak areas in the body and help treat injuries. But I often hear people say that they didn't feel any relief or show signs of improvement when using KT tape. And the question I always follow up with is, did you use it for the right purpose?
KT tape shouldn't be used for everything. Like any other product, it has its limits. KT tape has a good amount of elasticity, which has many benefits in supporting blood and fluid flow and allowing for comfort during movement. Therefore, it can be great for the following:
Awareness and muscle cueing
Inhibiting muscles in spams or tone
However, it doesn't provide good stability for things such as a sprained ankle or an unstable joint. So the obvious question follows: what should we use instead? There are several other kinds of tape in the PT world with many different purposes. KT tape is great and we use it frequently for the above purposes. But maybe a different kind of tape or taping method would be better suited to you and your needs.
Here is a list of a couple of other kinds of tape and what they can be used for!
It can be found at pretty much any sporting goods store. It stretches over time and tears easily. Athletic tape works great if you need short term stability during a sport or for mild wrist, finger or ankle stability.
Kendall tape is very similar to athletic tape and is the tape most hospitals use. It is stiffer than athletic tape and the stick lasts longer. It is used for many of the same purposes as athletic tape.
Cover Roll Stretch and Leukotape:
These two tapes are what we use here at Rehab and Revive more than any other. Leukotape is what we call the human duct tape. It is super sticky and stiff. It has pretty much no give when you tug on it. Because it is so sticky, it can damage your skin when trying to remove it. To prevent that, we put a layer of cover roll stretch underneath the leukotape to protect the skin.
This kind of tapes provides massive amounts of support to the body as far as tape is concerned. It works well for AC joint, rib cage or tibia instability.
So hopefully this provides some clarity on taping. KT tape is a great product when it is used for it's intended purpose. Other injuries or ailments may react better to a different type of tape and taping method.
Show us what you've been taping or check out our other taping videos on our Youtube channel here!
Remember, we can and we will get better together,
Dr. Justin C. Lin