In the London 2012 Olympics, the world was introduced to the use of kinesiology tape. Swimmers and other athletes would often sport brightly coloured tape in strange patterns, and since then the popularity of the tape has grown.
But does it work and who should use it?
In the clinical setting, kinesiology (otherwise known as K-Tape) tape has many apparent advantages. Firstly as a mainly cotton based tape, it breathes and does not require being kept dry in the shower. It is very flexible making it fantastic for knees and other joints which require movement. Kinesiology tape also is useful in oedema management, bruise mitigation, injury prevention and rehabilitation.
Sports tape is stronger, stickier, and reduces the available range of motion available at a joint more than K tape. It is the best choice for hypermobile joints or active injuries. The use of an underwrap like Hyperfix® can be beneficial in reducing irritation with the skin. Generally, tape needs to be removed after 3 days to prevent the development of dermatitis. This can vary between individuals.
So, if you have an injury and need to prevent movement and reduce muscle activity, traditional sports taping techniques are still the best option. If you are wanting to reduce stress on muscles, reduce swelling and maintain joint functionality, pick your favourite colour or pattern and get your K tape on.
I personally like Rocktape® in pink camouflage.