Does kinesiology tape relieve pain and improve performance?

You may have noticed many athletes wearing brightly colored tape on their knees, shoulders, or torsos. Fans of this tape, invented in 1979 by a Japanese chiropractor, claim it can enhance athletic performance by supporting muscles and joints from the outside.

Knee treatment with kinesiology tape

Traditional athletic taping involves applying a rigid, adhesive strapping tape to limit the range of motion and constrict muscle movement. This kind of taping supports injured areas while potentially helping prevent new injuries. Typically, this type of tape is removed after the athlete has finished practicing or competing.

The newer, colored kinesiology tape stretches lengthwise up to 60%

The thickness and weight of the tape are supposed to mimic the thickness and weight of the skin. Supporters say that using this kinesiology tape changes muscle tone, moves lymphatic fluids, corrects movement patterns, and improves posture. It provides neurosensory feedback so that the wearer feels less pain or discomfort, and it helps facilitate muscle contraction and endurance.

Does Kinesiology Tape Improve Performance?

Person fitted with colored kinesiology tape.

“The jury is still out on the hard and fast science of it,” says John Brewer, head of sport and exercise sciences and director of sport at the University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom. “I’m still struggling to come to terms with how tape placed on the skin can have any real, major effect on performance, other than potentially, a psychological effect.”

Several small scientific trials have shown that kinesiology tape relieves pain and improves function, but a systematic review and a meta-analysis (two methods that researchers use to combine many small studies to see larger trends) failed to turn up any convincing evidence. Still, the tape does hold some, especially in treating knee and shoulder pain.

Taping your knee can provide support and stability and alleviate some discomfort, especially when dealing with scar tissue in the knee or dealing with minor injuries.

Using this tape requires specific placement on the skin in a special pattern before exercising. If you wish to give kinesiology tape a try, we can instruct you on the proper methods for positioning it to address your needs. More importantly, we can devise a specific exercise plan that will help you achieve your individual goals and remain injury-free.


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