Kinesio taping

Kinesio taping is mostly used to alleviate pain, to increase joint mobility, to guide movement or muscle use, to reduce swelling, to improve sense of posture and movement and to optimise muscle activity. Kinesio taping can also be used to change the type and rhythm of movement, help joints to move correctly or, if necessary, provide functional support for the joint.

In physiotherapy, kinesio taping is used when treating patients with conditions such as musculoskeletal symptoms or neurological disorders. The use of kinesio taping is also popular in sports (and sports physiotherapy). When performed correctly, taping does not prevent normal tissue function or restrict movement.

The effects are based on tape stretching and the associated sensations transmitted from the skin and connective tissue membranes to the central nervous system. The tape can be stretched as desired to create room under the tissues and/or gently shift the tissues. The tape is left on the skin for 3 to 7 days and rarely causes allergic reactions. Showering and sauna bathing is permitted while wearing the tape. The tapes come in a range of colours but are all of a similar quality. Their effect is achieved through the use of different techniques and a sound knowledge of human anatomy.

The skin must be intact, clean and dry. The use of moisturiser will impair the tape's hold on the skin. If there is plenty of hair in the area being taped, this should be removed.

Kinesio tape can be purchased from pharmacies, sports shops etc.

The effects of kinesio taping may include:

  • Alleviating pain
  • Improving joint mobility
  • Improving proprioception, i.e. sense of one's body
  • Improving control of one's posture
  • Better focusing of muscle activity
  • Improving circulation and lymph drainage
  • Softening fibrotic tissue
  • Improving joint mechanics
  • Normalising movement patterns
  • Improving movement control
  • Increasing joint support and avoiding harmful directions of movement (e.g. subluxation)
  • Normalising muscle activity

Article written by physiotherapists Johanna Häkkinen and Anne Friman, 17.12.2013

Avainsanat: Physiotherapy, Kinesio taping