Kinesiotape is a highly elasticised fabric tape which can be applied to the skin to alter muscle and joint function, and enhance fluid flow. Kinesiotaping was developed in Japan in the mid 1970s, and has come to prominence over the last decade with increasing numbers of professional athletes wearing the distinctive brightly coloured tape. These colours do not represent any differences in the tape, merely personal preference. Kinesiotape can be left on the skin for several days, providing a continuous treatment effect for this time.
Kinesiotape can be applied to increase activation of specific muscles or muscle groups. When the tape is applied to underactive/lazy muscles, it facilitates the use of these muscles, both during normal every tasks and during exercise. It can be particularly useful to improve posture and assist in treatment of patellofemoral pain associated with poor muscle balance around the knee. Research has also documented that kinesiotape can be applied to muscles that are functioning normally to optimize strength for the purpose of performance enhancement.
Alternative taping techniques can conversely assist to reduce the excessive tension in overactive/tight muscles, most commonly in the ITB/TFL down the outer thigh, in the lower back and in the neck/shoulder region.
Kinesiotape can be used to facilitate normalisation of movement patterns by encouraging ideal muscle activation patterns. Unlike classic sports taping, kinesiotape does not restrict joint mobility, and hence it can be worn during exercise without restricting function. In this way, kinesiotaping is a constant reminder for the body to move correctly, allowing the body to “learn” to move correctly, rather than blocking undesirable movement as rigid tape does.
Specific kinesiotaping techniques can also enhance fluid flow within the body. This effect of kinesiotaping may be used to assist in the recovery from acute injuries such as joint sprains, muscle strains or contusions, or to assist lymphatic drainage in lymphoedema.
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