Can Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape (KT Tape) Help with Your Pain?
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Can Kinesiology Tape Help with Your Pain?

Dr. Andrew Sands
November 30, 2018

If you've watched any of the Olympic Games of the past decade or have tuned into a recent professional sports game, chances are you've noticed athletes wearing stripes of brightly colored tape on their skin. You may have wondered what this tape was, and why it seems like only these elite athletes have access to such material.

At ChiroCare of Florida, all of our offices are equipped with Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape (KT Tape), also known as the vibrant strips of tape you've seen plastered on your favorite athletes. But, KT Tape is far from an athletes-only therapy. In fact, if you've been suffering any musculoskeletal pain, KT Tape might be a great fit for you.

Can KT Tape Relieve Pain?

KT Tape can help relieve pain for patients of all ages and sizes. KT Tape is especially helpful for soft tissue pain, which can be caused by sprains, strains, accidents, and even soreness from sleeping incorrectly.

KT Tape can help relieve pain for individuals suffering from:

  • Knee pain
  • Shin splints
  • Plantar faciitis
  • Heel spurs
  • Hamstring injuries
  • Sciatica
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Bursitis
  • Scar tissue
  • Elbow pain, such as tennis elbow
  • Wrist pain, such as carpal tunnel
  • Shoulder pain and injuries, such as a torn rotator cuff
  • Back pain at the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar level
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases, such as osteoarthritis

Tensibility, or the ability of tissue to be stretched, is often not present in injured tissue, which can cause extreme pain when an individual attempts to flex or bend the area. As a non-invasive alternative to drugs or surgery, KT Tape can effectively help reduce pain, inflammation, limited range of motion, and lack of tensibility found in injured tissue.

What is KT Tape?

KT Tape is a thin, light-weight tape that gently lifts the skin, decreasing the pressure applied to the soft tissue underneath. Available in all ChiroCare of Florida offices, this treatment is effective in lessening muscle tension as well as remodeling scar tissue after an accident.

KT Tape helps reduce inflammation and pain in patients that are suffering from pain in the soft tissue. This is because its strategic placement on the skin allows for the fluid underneath the surface of the skin to move more freely. Specifically, it increases the movement of lymphatic fluid, which helps keep the site of the injury free of any toxins or harmful bacteria. This allows the soft tissue, such as muscle or tendon, or even the joint at the site of pain, to remain healthy and heal at a quicker rate.

Additionally, KT Tape increases blood flow at the site of placement. Blood is rich in nutrients and oxygen, which not only drastically reduces inflammation but also eases pain and soreness.

Why Did KT Tape Become Popular?

KT Tape found its origins in the late 1970s when a Japanese chiropractor named Kenzo Kase invented a flexible, water-resistant, latex-free, stretchy adhesive that could mimic human skin. His inspiration? The sumo-wrestlers that were his patients. Kase developed KT Tape with three goals in mind:

  • To act as a support system for muscles and joints without restricting movement.
  • To allow patients to recover from injuries with a full range of motion.
  • To alleviate pain without drugs or surgery.

KT Tape was made popular by its appearance in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, when U.S. volleyball player Kerri Walsh sported the tape on her right shoulder. Despite still recovering from rotator-cuff surgery, Walsh took home the gold that year. Physical therapists, chiropractors, and sports-medicine specialists all took notice.

What Sets KT Tape Apart?

More pliable than traditional tape, KT Tape is made with tiny pores to allow sweat and water to escape the skin. Its medical-grade adhesive glue allows KT Tape to be worn for 3 to 5 days at time. This is unlike other tapes, which can only be worn for a few hours before needing to be removed, heightening the chances that the injury can be made worse between wears.

What sets KT Tape apart from other medical bandages is that KT Tape was specially designed to run along the contours of the skin. Typically, any type of sports tape or medical bandages simply sits on top of the skin, wrinkling at the edges and lifting in areas that crease and twist with motion. This ineffective construction often yields ineffective results, with the material lifting from the skin. KT Tape follows the contours of the skin, hugging the ridges, curves, and bends of the soft tissue.

Following an injury, a physician will often recommend wrapping the affected area in a bandage. However, wrapping the injured site with a heavy bandage will drastically reduce range of motion, and possibly blood flow, all of which will relate to pain, inflammation, and a longer recovery time. KT Tape is light-weight, water-proof, and flexible, such that it can support the soft tissue without stifling it.

If you've been suffering pain and are curious if KT Tape could be right for you, now is your chance to find out. Contact ChiroCare of Florida today to schedule your next appointment.

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