You may have seen strips of colorful tape across the arms, legs, and other body parts of Olympic athletes to high school players. With the launch of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, we’ll be seeing many world-class professional athletes across 32 global teams wearing this tape throughout November and December. The tape is called Kinesiology Tape, and some refer to it simply as KT.
Soccer is sport of maximum movement, involving sprinting, leaping, agility, and so much more. So what can a thin strip of fabric with adhesive do, especially for world-class, world cup athletes who are already in peak performance and in the best shape of their lives? As a rehabilitative tool used in sports medicine, athletic training, chiropractic, physical therapy and more, it’s natural to wonder about what kinesiology tape is, why people use it, and how it may even benefit you! We had Dr. Fanning give a lesson in Kinesiology Tape 101.
What is kinesio taping?
Kinesio taping is an elastic-type of athletic taping. It is commonly used as an adjunct therapy that compliments care for a specific diagnosis.
Kinesio tape can improve efficiency during movement by supporting muscles, ligaments, and tendons (soft tissue) by providing a lightweight, strong, external support that helps to prevent injury and speed recovery of existing injuries.
What does kinesio taping treat or do?
Everyone’s favorite answer: It depends. We cannot overstate its uses but kinesio taping can be used to help a variety of aches and pains, from spine pain to shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle pain. We typically will use it as an adjunct to our hands-on therapy and/or rehabilitation exercises.
Kinesio tape works differently for different injuries. Depending on how it is applied, KT tape supports, enables, or restricts soft tissue and its movement. By stretching and contracting like a rubber band, KT tape supports tissue function and distributes impact for inflamed or damaged muscles and tendons, protecting from further injury.
Some examples include:
Kinesio tape can lift and support the knee cap, holding it in place for Runner’s Knee.
Kinesio tape can support sagging muscles along the arch of the foot, relieving the connective tissues for Plantar’s Fasciitis.
Kinesio tape can lift the stress off of shin splints, allowing pain release, which gives the body a better opportunity to recover.
Who are candidates for kinesio taping?Who all can get it, and for what?
There is no particular age range. Kinesio taping is commonly used on high school athletes, to older adults; and on weekend warriors, to professional athletes. Patients only need to confirm that they do not have an allergy or history of adverse reactions to adhesives.
There are a variety of benefits that kinesio taping offers. KT tape is often used to:
Reduce or relieve pain
Increase blood flow
Is kinesio taping safe, and effective?
Kinesio tape is safe as long as the patient does not have an allergy to the adhesive. KT tape has a low level of irritation making safe even for people with sensitive skin. If patients develop any redness, itching, or irritation, they may be allergic to the adhesive and should remove the tape.
To increase effectiveness, oftentimes we will ask the patients to shave the area that is being taped. Body hair can decrease the effectiveness of the tape by inhibiting adhering to the skin. When applied correctly, KT tape can last for up to a few days of wear, depending on the level of activity. To remove the tape, it is best to do it slowly. Baby oil can also be used to aid in a gentle removal.
Is SCU Health accepting new kinesio taping patients?
We are always accepting new patients. During the initial visit, patients are given ample time to ask questions regarding their care. If taping has not been mentioned, patients are certainly encouraged to ask their provider for more information.
About Dr. Michael Fanning
Dr. Fanning is the Tactical Sports Medicine Lead Clinician at SCU Health. In this position he provides musculoskeletal care to Law Enforcement, First Responders and Veterans.
He served six years in the U.S. Air Force as a member of the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) stationed at the 15th Air Support Operations Squadron, Detachment 1 at Fort Benning, GA. His service included two tours in Iraq’s Diyala and Wasit provinces as a Forward Air Controller attached to the 1/15 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. He was honorable discharged as a Staff Sergeant in 2011.
Dr. Fanning’s military specializations included joint Terminal Attach Controller (JTAC), Basic-Parachutist qualifications and receiving an Associate of Arts in Information Systems from the Community College of the Air Force.
Upon discharge, he studied Biology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. He competed in triathlons, ultramarathons and cycling events. He also became a USA Triathlon Certified Coach. In 2013, he transferred to Southern California University of Health Sciences to begin his Doctor of Chiropractic Program.
Dr. Fanning graduated Cum Laude and awarded the Lester McCoy Clinical Excellence Award from SCU in 2016. He immediately joined SCU’s two year Sports Medicine Residency where he completed his Diplomate in Chiropractic Sports Medicine from the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (ACBSP) and became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. During his residency he provided sideline sports medicine coverage for St. Paul High School, Whittier Christian High School and the Whittier Union High School District. Additionally, he completed two six-week Sports Medicine Rotations at the Chula Vista U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee Training site providing care to resident athletes. He has traveled nationally and internationally with multiple National Governing Bodies including USA Fencing, Parafencing, and ParaTrack and Field. He was an alternate Sports Medicine Provider for both the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Dr. Fanning has been published in the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s TSAC-Report on “Bone Stress Response Injuries in Law Enforcement Recruits”. He has published with the ACBSP over a dozen Abstracts, including the ACBSP Robert C. Reed Award for Best Abstract at the 2020 ACBSP Chiropractic Sports Science Symposium. Dr. Fanning has presented for the California Chiropractic Association’s Sports Symposium in 2020 and 2021 on Conservative Care for Musculoskeletal Injuries. He currently instructs for SCU’s Sports Medicine Track in multiple Sports Related Concussion Courses. He recently joined the ACBSP’s Practical Exam Committee.