By Dr Felicia Adderley
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games have come to a close. The world as watching closely as our own Shaunae Miller and men’s 4x400m relay team won medals for the Bahamas.
Aside from the excitement of watching the world’s best on the world stage, people noticed that many of the athletes were wearing colourful tape on their bodies – in blue, red, black and beige. This was Kinesio tape, an inexpensive yet effective way to help rehabilitate injuries and facilitate muscle function.
The Kinesio taping method was created by Dr Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor, in 1979.
By 1981, he invented his own brand of kinesiology tape. The Kinesio tex tape, or KT as it is commonly called, was first highlighted on an international level during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. This elastic tape is made of 100 per cent cotton and elastic fibres, and contains no medication or latex. It works based on how it is applied to the body, specifically how much stretch, which type of cut is used and in what direction it is applied.
Kinesio tape has a similar thickness and weight to skin and helps to create space by lifting the skin, thus decompressing the tissues and structures underneath. This is one way it is thought to reduce pain by taking pressure off nerve endings. This lift of the skin allows for the tissues to be decongested, improves flow of fluid from the tissues to reduce swelling and improve waste removal.
As the body is moved into a position putting the muscle on stretch, more of the skins receptors are exposed to the Kinesio tape. Another way in which the tape is beneficial is to provide feedback and sensory information to the muscles. This can be particularly important in any diagnosis where sensation or general awareness of the body is reduced, such as with strokes.
The tape can remain on the body and retain its effectiveness for three to five days. The adhesive within it is heat activated and allows for longevity with wearing the tape, which is also waterproof and holds up during baths, showers and even swimming. Unlike other rigid tapes, Kinesio tape allows for the individual to maintain full motion of their joints, while muscles and joints are being supported and stabilised.
The Kinesio taping method is a viable treatment option that can be utilised as an adjunct to other physical therapy treatment including manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, electrical stimulation and other modalities geared towards pain relief. One of the many positive features of Kinesio tape is that it can be used post treatment to help retain the gains (such as reduced muscle spasm, increased flexibility of tissues and/or range of motion) made during a therapy session. It is a treatment the patient will have the benefit of in the days between therapy sessions.
There is also a great benefit in that Kinesio tape can be used in a wide variety of patient populations from pediatric to geriatric, from athletes to non-athletes. The Kinesio taping method can be used to treat sprains, strains, lymphedema (swollen limbs due to removal of lymph nodes), bruises, increase muscle tone in low tone children, improve posture, reduce pain, swelling and muscle spasm, including those associated with strokes.
Kinesio taping has also been found safe and effective in treating pre- and post-natal patients for low back pain, diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscle), supporting the abdominal wall/uterus in the third trimester and even carpal tunnel which can occur with pregnancy due to increased swelling and pressure on the nerves in the wrist.
For every diagnosis under the Bahamian sun, there’s a Kinesio taping app for that! The applications and uses are truly endless.
• For further information or queries contact Dr Felicia Adderley at Adderley Physiotherapy, 8th Terrace Centreville, at 326-3052, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Felicia Adderley PT, DPT, CKTP on Facebook.