Most individuals, athletes or not, have experienced a musculoskeletal injury due to the overuse of a specific tissue or muscle. These overuse injuries can slow down an individual either in the workout routines or daily life. While not all injuries react the same way, many overuse injury areas are known to build up lymphatic fluid causing swelling and pain. The swelling and pain come from the accumulated lymphatic fluid putting increased pressure on the injured muscle or tissue.
Taping using Kinesio Tape (KT) has become a very popular proposed treatment and recovery aid over the past couple of years. KT became popular after the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, where beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings caught the attention of many spectators for wearing multi colored tape strips on her shoulder. KT is believed to lift the skin from the underlying layers of fascia, or bands or connective tissue. The lifting of the skin from the fascia results in a greater movement of lymphatic fluid, which transports white blood cells throughout the body and removes bacteria, waste products, and cellular debris. When the tape is correctly used it may also be able to provide support to the surrounding muscles and help to ensure that the muscle does not over extend or over contract .
Research suggests show that the tape will allow increased oxygen to the injured muscle and decreased inflammation. A 2012 study tested the effects of KT on blood flow in the gastrocnemius muscle and whether or not the way KT is applied changes the outcome on the muscle performance. In this study 61 healthy active individuals with no recent leg injuries were assigned to either treatment KT, sham KT, or a control group. Before taping a blood flow, circumference, and water displacement was taken for the gastrocnemius muscle. The individuals were then taped, and each measurement was taken again 24 hours and 72 hours after being taped. The results of this study showed no significant differences in the blood flow to the muscle using KT. There was also no change in the muscle’s performance based on the application technique of the tape .
From five previous systematic reviews, a new systematic review had been created to evaluate whether or not KT was more effective than no treatment or a placebo treatment, for people with musculoskeletal conditions, on pain levels, disability, and quality of life. Several different studies had been performed that looked at the pain levels on a scale from (0-10) for performing different activities while wearing either KT or another form of tape. These studies are prone too potential bias from the users and small sample sizes. Many of the referenced studies only shared certain of the results or were considered significant but of low quality .
Within a study done on subjects who had been diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis/impingement similar results were found as in the studies before. The only difference in this study was that they took self-reported measurement for range of motion along with pain. While the taping was ineffective compared to sham tape in long term, the KT provide immediate in pain free abduction range of motion. Once again, this study was limited to a. young population and it lacked a control group for comparison .
Although studies show that KT is ineffective in aiding injury rehabilitation, it is. Still used often by many groups of people. Since KT is relatively safe there is no reason why it cannot be used. Whether or not KT acts as a placebo or works I ways that are yet to be understood, it has worked for a large population of people for many years in helping to get past injuries for exercise and daily life.
Questions to Consider
Have you ever used Kinesio Tape? If so, did it help alleviate pain or support movements?
KT placebo effect or valid injury rehabilitation aid?
Do you think KT will last as an injury aid?
 Hannah L. Stedge, Ryan M. Kroskie, and Carrie L. Docherty. (2012). Kinesio Taping and the Circulation and Endurance Ratio of the. Gastrocnemius Muscle. Journal of Athletic Training, 47(6), 635-642.
 Patricia do Carmo Silva Parreira, Luciola da Cunha Menezes Costa, etc. (2014). Current evidence does not support the use of Kinesio Taping in clinical practice: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy, 60(1), 31-39.
 Mark D. Thelen, James A. Dauber, Paul D. Stonemen. (2008).Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy,38(7), 389-395.
 “WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE TAPE? Benefits of Kinesiology Theraputic (KT)Tape-Small Tool Delivers Big Impact.” Fischer Institute, 16 Oct. 2017, fischerinstitute.com/benefits-kinesiology-therapeutic-tape/.