What is that crazy tape athletes are wearing these days?
I get this question almost weekly in the clinic after patients watch their favorite sporting events. The tape that they are referring to is manufactured by many different companies but is essential stretchy athletic tape and is reported to have many uses for athletes and the general population. The theory behind the tape is that it can correct increase strength in muscles, improve circulation, decrease pain, and restore normal muscle tone and function (kase et al., 1996). Most of these proposed improvements are due to the fact that the tape has some stretch to it which gives feedback and support to muscles more so than normal athletic tape.
There has been conflicting research on the benefits of tape but two specific studies did find that it can be beneficial in increasing ROM and muscle activation when applied properly. Other studies found that the benefits of tape were more mental than actually making a physical change in the muscles. In my experience using kinesio tape I have found that it can be beneficial for short periods of relief in helping to support weak or sore muscles. Ask your therapist if sport tape could be a useful addition to your therapy!
Kase, K., Tatsuyuki, H., and Tomoko, O. Development of kinesio tape. Kinesio taping perfect manual. Kinesio Taping Association. 1996; 6: 117–118
Halseth, Travis, et al. "The effects of Kinesio™ taping on proprioception at the ankle." Journal of sports science & medicine 3.1 (2004):
Zakład Rehabilitacji Oddziału Fizjoterapii II WL, Akademia Medyczna, Warszawa. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ortopedia, Traumatologia, Rehabilitacja [2007, 9(6):644-651]