Physical therapists and occupational therapists often use Kinesio® Tape on their clients as an adjunct to therapy. So what is Kinesio® Tape? You might have seen this colorful tape on Olympic athletes in various locations and various patterns. It is an elastic tape that has multiple purposes depending on where and how it is applied. It is often used to reduce pain, swelling, improve strength, encourage optimal alignment, and decrease muscle fatigue. Kinesio® Tape can be used at full tension like regular athletic tape. However, it is the elastic qualities of Kinesio® Tape that make it therapeutic.
Properties of Kinesio® Tape:
- Latex free
- Variable tension depending on function
- Adhesive is medical grade acrylic and heat sensitive
- Allows for free movement instead of restricted movement like regular athletic tape
- Similar elasticity as human skin, so it can stay on for days to maximize its full effect
Purpose of Kinesio® Tape:
- To hold a joint in optimal position to help an overstretched or overworked muscle to rest and return to its most efficient length.
- Keeping a body part in better alignment helps the muscles contract and work in a less stressful fashion during daily activities.
- To increase input to the skin around a specific muscle or joint. With this new proprioceptive input, more awareness of that body part leads to more strength.
- To help relax an overused muscle which helps reduce pain and swelling
- Improve lymphatic flow and reduce edema and bruising, allowing for accelerated healing
Who can benefit:
People with a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, or medical conditions, such as:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Conditions with weakness or paralysis of a certain body part
- Down Syndrome
- Gross Motor Developmental Delay
- Children with gait abnormalities such as toe-walking, flat feet, hyperextension, etc.
- Low muscle tone
- Decreased coordination
- Brain injury
- Painful orthopedic injury
- Poor posture
- And many more…
Not only is Kinesio® Tape safe for use on children, I have found Kinesio® Taping to be extremely beneficial and valuable to my clinical practice. This elastic tape can be left on for 3-4 days after application. Often times, I put it on at the end of a session to help my clients retain the gains we made during the session. In a way, it improves carryover from week to week, and brings the physical effects of therapy home. With babies, this “reminder” is especially important, as they are still working on their neuromuscular control and cannot make a conscious effort to contract a certain muscle or hold a specific position during their play activities. With children, the colorful tape gives them a fun visual cue to increase use of a certain body part and strengthen those all important neuromuscular connections.
Kase, K, Martin, P, Yasukawa, A. Kinesio®Taping in Pediatrics. 2006. Kinesio® USA , LLC. 16-19.