Does Kinesiology Tape Work?

Monday, 25 June 2018

In the past decade, these brightly coloured strips of elastic tape started popping up everywhere, and if you're a fan of any sport, you're probably familiar with the increasingly popular kinesiology tape. But no matter how cool it looks, if you're thinking of trying out this newly popular method yourself, you're probably interested in only one question: Does kinesiology tape actually work, or is this just another fad that makes professionals look a tad more professional?

What Is Kinesio Tape?

Standard white athletic tape has actually been used in various disciplines by athletes and trainers for decades to help immobilise or stabilise an injured body part, without attracting too much attention from people outside the industry. It all started in the sumo-wrestling niche in the late 1970s, when a Japanese chiropractor named Kenzo Kase invented a flexible, latex-free, water-resistant adhesive tape that would help his clients by acting as a support system for muscles and joints without blocking their movement, as well as alleviate pain without the need for drugs of surgery. Less than a decade later, Kase started branding his revolutionary invention as Kinesio Tex, which to this day remains one of the leading names in the field of kinesiology tapes.

Kinesio Tape on the Back

While the brand was fairly successful in its own field for decades, public interest started to shift drastically during the 2008 games in Beijing, when prominent athletes, such as US volleyball player Keri Walsh, were first noticed wearing these brightly coloured strips of tape. The rest, as they say, is history.

Claim: Kinesio Tape Can Reduce Pain

In clinical settings, kinesio tape has been shown to have immediate and sometimes substantial effects on reducing pain, though scientists are not exactly sure of how this is supposed to happen. Based on one particular theory, kinesiology tape reduces pain by simply playing tricks on our nervous system: when it's taped over an injured body part, it can easily distract our brains from feeling pain. It works similarly to rubbing the painful area, which does in fact relieve pain.

Claim: Kinesio Tape Can Improve Performance

The way kinesiology tape works is by adding an extra bit of sensory feedback while you move, which improves muscle function and the general ability to control your body in movement. By adding that little extra sensation over the skin, tape activates the sensory receptors in muscles, which triggers a slight reflective reaction that could help to control movement. And in professional competitions, this tiny extra reflex can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Kinesio Tape on Knee

Claim: Kinesio Tape Can Prevent Injuries

According to science, there is no real evidence to support the notion of kinesio tape being able to prevent sports injuries, yet leading athletes still claim that tape, when applied correctly, can do wonders in preventing certain injuries. When paired with certain exercises, kinesiology tape in said to effectively prevent the following injuries:

  • Hamstring Strain
  • Iliotibial-Band Syndrome (ITBS)
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Runner's Knee
  • Shin Splints

Does Kinesiology Tape Really Work?

In spite of its rising popularity and four decades of regular use by athletes from all disciplines, taping is still a very poorly researched area of sports medicine. Most experts agree that there is something to it, but nobody seems quite sure of how kinesiology tape is supposed to work. Yet the fact remains that with such positive feedback from both professional and amateur users, kinesio tape must have some positive effect on the body. With it being such an affordable option, with practically non-existent side effects, there's really no argument against giving it a try.

Where To Buy Kinesio Tape?

At Health and Care, we stock most of the leading brands of kinesiology tape, and with a bit of research to see which type would suit you best, you can find just what you need right here. Below is a list of our top suggestions for what to use with the most common injuries, conditions, and applications:

Kinesio Tape on Ankle

Have you used kinesiology tape in the past? Did it work and how did it affect your performance? Let us know in the comments below or via our Facebook or Twitter!