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Ultimate Guide: How To Apply Kinesiology Tape

Friday, 25 February 2022  |  Rob

Kinesiology tape is a clever elastic sports tape that's quickly become a favourite among top level athletes and physiotherapists. These brightly coloured strips stick to the skin, and help support the muscles, tendons and ligaments while also providing supreme pain relief for a number of conditions.

The only drawback comes from the actual application of kinesiology tape, which can be difficult if you don't know what you're doing. To lend you a helping hand, this guide will show you how to correctly apply kinesiology tape, and will then take you through some examples of effective taping methods that help support Achilles pain, calf strain, IT band pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, sciatica and back pain.

Which Kinesiology Tape Should I Choose?

There are many different brands of kinesiology tape available on the market today, which makes choosing the right one a little intimidating. Fortunately, we've done the hard work for you and narrowed it down to just one. Our top pick when it comes to kinesiology tape is without a doubt the Ultimate Performance Kinesiology Tape. The unique wave pattern imitates the skin perfectly to provide exquisite comfort and optimal support, and is hypoallergenic and latex-free so that anyone can use it.

Ultimate Performance Kinesiology Tape

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How To Apply Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape works by lifting the skin from the tissue below it, which helps alter pain receptors in the skin, fascia and muscles. In order for this to work, a certain degree of stretch has to be applied to the tape during application on the affected area. There are a few general rules to keep too in order to maximise the efficacy of the tape, these rules are as follows:

  • Before applying, rub the tape to activate the adhesive so that it sticks to the skin immediately 
  • An anchor tab refers to an unstretched section of tape on either end of a strip that holds the tape in place
  • The strips of tape can be applied either from the centre or from one end to another
  • It is easier to remove the tape from the backing than the backing from the tape
  • Try not to handle the adhesive side of the tape, as this can reduce its efficacy

Seven Methods for Applying Kinesiology Tape

Now that you know how to correctly apply kinesiology tape, it's time to take you through the best taping methods for seven common conditions that affect many people. If you have a particular condition that's relevant to you, follow the links below to skip straight to what you're looking for. The seven conditions this guide covers include:

Kinesiology Tape For the Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon is vital for key movements such as running jumping and lifting, so it's especially important to keep this vulnerable body part protected. The trick is to support the Achilles tendon by anchoring the tape to the sole of the foot, and stretching it up and over the Achilles to ensure correct alignment.

  1. Lift the foot up and anchor the tape to the sole of the foot
  2. Apply the tape vertically with the desired level of stretch up to around the mid calf
  3. Apply a second strip vertically across the tendon just above the ankle bone

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for Achilles Tendon

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Kinesiology Tape for Calf Strain

Responsible for stability, propulsion and speed, the calf muscle is crucially important for all competitive athletes. Don't let calf strain get in the way of your potential. Use this expert-approved taping method to eliminate the risk of injury, or to promote fast healing of an already existing one.

  1. Apply the tape vertically starting just above the ankle until just below the knee
  2. Apply the second strip horizontally across the affected area with 50% stretch and an anchor point at each end

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for Calf Pain

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Kinesiology Tape for IT Band Pain

Iliotibial band syndrome is caused by a tightening of the IT band, which results in friction and pain around the knee. Rest assured, our scientific taping method will eliminate any pain caused by this unpleasant, debilitating affliction. Follow these easy instructions for optimal support against IT band pain:

  1. Apply a long strip of tape with no stretch from the hip bone vertically down to just below the knee
  2. Apply a second strip horizontally across the outer leg just above the knee with 50% stretch

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for IT Band Pain

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Kinesiology Tape for Knee Pain

Knee pain is common for people from all walks of life, so anyone can benefit from this kinesiology taping method. One of the most common causes of knee pain is improper alignment of the kneecap, so it's important to surround the patella as instructed to ensure maximum support. 

  1. Flex the knee at a 90° angle 
  2. Split the strip vertically 3-4" at one end
  3. Apply the tape from the mid-thigh down to the knee
  4. Position each side of the split around the patella
  5. Optional: Apply a vertical strip below the kneecap with 50% stretch

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for Knee Pain

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Kinesiology Tape for Plantar Fasciitis

At Health and Care, we're often asked "what's the best way to reduce plantar fasciitis pain?" Well, here's our answer. Applying kinesiology tape using this method allows complete mobility while keeping the key tendons and ligaments supported for maximum pain relief. Please note that it is optional to split the strips as shown in the diagram below.

  1. Lift the foot and anchor the tape to the heel, apply along the base of the foot with no stretch
  2. Apply a second strip anchored at the top of the foot, wrapped from medial to the lateral side for added arch support

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for Plantar Fasciitis

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Kinesiology Tape for Sciatica

If you experience shooting or burning pains that run down your entire leg, you may well be suffering from sciatica. This debilitating condition affects the way you walk and can even get in the way of sleep. Luckily for you, we've got the remedy - just follow these two simple steps:

  1. Anchor just below the buttock and apply vertically down to the ankle with 50% stretch
  2. Apply a second strip horizontally across the widest part of the hamstring with 50% stretch

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for Sciatica

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Kinesiology Tape for Lower Back Pain

We've all experienced back pain at some point in our lives, so we all know how hard it makes getting out of bed. Thankfully, we know the best taping technique to help get you back on your feet. The key is to start with light, vertical compression that provides support along the spine, and then directly target the most painful area with a high-stretch band.

  1. Bend forwards from the waist
  2. Apply two vertical strips on either side of the buttock and apply vertically until half way up the spine (25% stretch)
  3. Apply a third strip horizontally across the most painful area with 50% stretch

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape for Back Pain

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Time to Get Taping

We hope this guide has helped you learn the best techniques for applying kinesiology tape effectively, and that we have armed you with the knowledge to go out and push your limits like the top-level athletes. If you're still not sure on what tape to get, feel free to browse our full range of Kinesiology Tape.

Want to know more about kinesiology tape, or have something to add? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter.

Tags: Sports Equipment, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation, Pressure Relief, Foot and Ankle Pain, Back Pain