You’ve probably seen people rocking some k-tape and just didn’t know what it was. Typically, the k-tape strips show up in bright shades of blues or pinks on people’s bodies. What is it? Kinesiology tape, otherwise known as k-tape. K-tape has a comprehensive array of therapeutic benefits. From high school heroes to professional phenomenons, k-tape can help to support tired muscles, overstretched ligaments and aid injured joints.
Developed by a Japanese doctor more than 30 years ago, Kinesio tape has made an appearance on great athletes such as David Beckham and Serena Williams. For years, k-tape was primarily used by rehabilitation specialists, physical therapists and chiropractors. The effectiveness of it has spread like wildfire and is now used by top athletes and medical practitioners all over the world.
Lance Armstrong wrote in his book “Every Second Counts” that Kinesio tape is, “Something better than any laser, wrap, or electric massager…The Tape. It is a special hot-pink athletic tape that came from Japan and seemed to have special powers. Every morning before the stage, they would tape us all up, different parts of our bodies . . . George’s back, Chechu’s knees. Sometimes we’d be so wrapped up in hot-pink tape that we’d look like dolls, a bunch of broken dolls. But the next day the pain disappeared–it was gone.”
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Tale of K-Tape
In a nutshell, k-tape is an elastic therapeutic taping that provides manipulation of the soft tissue in order to prolong the benefits of manual therapy administered in the clinic between visits. When k-tape is used in conjunction with other exercise-based treatments, such as physical therapy, it gives patients the best possible window for recovery.
Why is K-Tape Used?
K-tape is used primarily to:
- Increase range of motion
- Physically correct alignment
- Facilitate tissue recovery
- Relieve pain
- Strengthen or relax muscles
- Decrease swelling
- Reduce muscular fatigue
K-Tape for Your Hands
While k-tape isn’t a shortcut to recovery, it provides an extra line of defense for those at high risk. It can be used on most places on the body—ankles, shins, wrists and hands—to provide healing and added support. Most people may not think about applying it to the hand, but there are precut k-tape products that are specifically designed for the hand, wrist and elbow. Designed to relieve pain and accelerate recovery from a wide variety of injuries to the tendons, muscles, bones and ligaments found in the wrist, hand, forearm and elbow, k-tape is extraordinary. Some conditions that may benefit from k-tape include:
- Sprained wrist
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis elbow
- Golfers elbow
- Support and stability for weak wrists
- Recovery after broken bones or surgery
Remember that the effectiveness of K-tape relies on the placement and technique. While you can do it yourself, it is best to have it applied by a professional.