You may have seen over the past few years a growing number of people using this elasticated brightly coloured tape known as kinesiology tape- or K tape for short. But what is it? And how can it help with injuries?
K tape is made up of a combination of cotton and nylon, is water-resistant (so you can still have a shower) and usually can last between three and five days.
The main functions of K tape are:
• Assists joint movement
• Improves circulation
• Helps with pain management
Aids joint movement
Kinesiology tape provides support but doesn’t limit movement. It’s designed to mimic the skins elasticity so that you can maintain a full range of movement unlike other tapes which can inhibit joint mobility.
Circulation & Managing Pain
If you have an injury that has resulted in inflammation, then kinesiology tape could improve the circulation and therefore reduce swelling to the area if applied appropriately.
Kinesiology tape can also have an influence on the circulation of lymphatic fluid. Lymphatic fluid is made up of water white blood cells and proteins. It is a key component that needs to be regulated to prevent fluid build up and swelling. When injuries occur the lymphatic system can be adversely affected resulting in inflammation and therefore pain.
When K tape is used it creates a space between the skin and the tissues underneath it. This creates a pressure gradient underneath the skin which enhances lymphatic fluid flow.
The stretching sensation that you feel when wearing K tape can serve as a gentle reminder to not sit so slouched when you’re at work- though following a routine of exercises is likely to be more effective in improving posture in the long term.
Advice from the osteopath
K tape is an excellent way of managing a variety of injuries and conditions. However it is most effective when used in combination with a rehabilitation programme and hands on osteopathic treatment. Don’t be over reliant on its’ use and remember that if you are in pain to also seek advice from your osteopath!