K Tape

Athletic taping

Elastic therapeutic tape, commonly referred to as ‘kinesiology tape,’ is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive that is used with the intention of treating athletic injuries and a variety of physical disorders.

Numerous studies have failed to show that elastic therapeutic taping produces clinically significant benefits. A 2012 systematic review found that the efficacy of Kinesio Tape in pain relief was trivial.

If elastic therapeutic taping has a founding father it would be Dr. Kenzo Kase, an American-trained Japanese chiropractor who developed the idea of using a gentle adhesive with elastic taping fabric. For the first decade after its introduction before 1980, orthopedists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other medical practitioners in Japan were the main users of the therapeutic tape. By 1988 the tape had been adopted by Japanese Olympic and professional athletes. 

The tape is used in therapy in an attempt to relax overused muscles and in rehabilitation to try to facilitate underused muscles. The elastic properties can also be utilized in a mechanical fashion to limit or encourage a specific motion at a joint. The popularity of elastic therapeutic tape in the United States surged after 50,000 rolls were donated and the tape was seen on Olympic athletes in the 2008 Beijing Summer Games by Kinesio. Of these athletes, beach volleyball champion Kerri Walsh, who used the tape in competition following surgery on her rotator cuff, was frequently photographed.

In the 2012 Olympics in London, the tape was even more prevalent. It was seen on athletes in sports ranging from volleyball to track and field. Lance Armstrong, seven times winner of the Tour de France, discussed using Kinesio tape in his book, where he described the effectiveness of the treatment for his sore muscles. Serena Williams has also used therapeutic tapes during competition.

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