The use of kinesiology tape to treat injuries is often a hotly disputed and vastly misunderstood topic of conversation in the sports medicine world. You’ve probably heard conflicting arguments and might be wondering what the truth is about kinesiology tape. Let’s set the record straight and tackle 4 common myths about kinesiology tape:
Myth #1 – There is no evidence to support the use of kinesiology tape
Kinesiology tape has been the subject of numerous recent medical studies and plenty of studies have found it to be beneficial. In this study, researchers found that kinesiology tape combined with exercise is as effective as a steroid injection combined with exercise in treating patients with sub-acromial impingement of the shoulder. This finding confirms kinesiology tape as a less-invasive, drug-free treatment option.
In this systematic review, researchers found kinesiology tape combined with exercise to be effective in reducing symptoms of pain that lasts for more than four weeks. They also determined that taping is superior to minimal intervention for pain relief.
There have certainly been studies that claim taping has little to no effect, but often these studies are done on subjects who are not injured and thus have little to gain from taping. There is definitely more research to be done concerning the use of kinesiology tape, but to say there is no evidence to support its use is simply inaccurate.
Myth #2 – Kinesiology tape provides solely a placebo effect
Not only is there evidence that kinesiology tape is effective, there are several studies that have shown that its effectiveness is not just as a placebo.
In this study, patients with knee osteoarthritis were randomly allocated to either the experimental group (therapeutic kinesiology taping with tension) or the control group (sham kinesiology taping without tension) and had no way of knowing which group they were a part of. Torque, stair climbing, and pain during stair climbing were all measured pre and post-tape application and researches noted significant improvement in all measures in only the group that received actual, therapeutic tape application.
Other studies have made similar conclusions, so it seems clear that just having tape on your body doesn’t automatically make you feel better and perform better. The effect of properly applied tape goes far beyond a placebo.
Myth #3 – The color of the tape matters
You might have heard that pink tape will warm up stiff muscles and blue tape will cool down inflamed muscles because pink is a warm color and blue is a cool color, but the truth is that the color of the tape really doesn’t matter. Lighter colors do reflect more light, and thus heat, and darker colors do absorb more, but you are not going to notice any appreciable temperature differences based on the color of tape you use. Choose a color that matches your gear, makes you feel tough, or just generally makes you happy.
Myth #4 – Kinesiology tape is difficult to apply
Applying kinesiology tape correctly certainly takes some practice, but it isn’t inherently difficult and doesn’t require you to be an expert in human anatomy or complete a highly-technical training course. Spend some time getting familiar with how the tape moves and you’ll soon develop a knack for applying it smoothly and securely.
Knowing where to apply the tape can be easily learned from a variety of guides available online. Our free ebook is one great resource for the DIY-taper, clearly demonstrating application techniques for 9 common injuries.
Here are a few general tips for applying kinesiology tape:
Keep it simple. Less is usually more when it comes to kinesiology taping. A few (or maybe even just one!) properly placed pieces of tape will do the trick.
Make sure the skin is clean, dry, and free from lotions and oils before you begin taping.
Rounding the corners of the tape can help you achieve better adhesion.
Pay close attention to the stretch (or tension) of the tape when applying. In our free ebook, you will see instructions describing no stretch, light stretch, medium stretch, and full stretch.
When applying kinesiology tape, rub to create friction. The heat created makes the adhesive stronger and more effective.
For more complex, serious injuries, consulting an experienced therapist might be your best bet. A therapist can also show you how to apply tape yourself if you need some extra help.
Have more questions about using kinesiology tape? Contact us today to learn more and check out our selection of taping products!