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In less than a week, Central New York will be host to another edition of the world-renowned 15k road race, the Boilermaker. This is an annual tradition that draws runners from around the globe, and it's a great opportunity to discuss medical supplies that help athletes compete at their best and recover from the strain caused by intense exertion. One of the most popular products for competitive athletes is kinesiology tape.
If you've watched or played sports in the past several years, you've likely seen athletes wearing kinesiology tape along their shoulders or legs. While athletic or strapping tape is a time-tested practice in sports medicine, kinesiology tape is a much different form. Traditional athletic tape is tightly-wrapped around the entirety of an injured area, providing rigid support to an injured joint or muscle by restricting movement. Kinesiology tape instead is flexible and elastic, allowing for dynamic support and a larger range of motion while only requiring application directly over or around an injured joint or muscle group. It can also be worn for up to 4 or 5 days, and even while showering, bathing, or swimming.
So what does kinesiology tape do? Its effects are still being studied, but it reputedly has three major effects:
By supporting weak or injured muscle groups or joints, kinesiology tape reduces pain while still allowing an injured part to function and move with a dynamic range of motion. In this way it helps build muscle strength while helping to keep muscles protected from injury.
Beyond this, by relieving pressure in an injured area and its nerve receptors, kinesiology tape is thought to slow or diminish the pain signals sent to the brain. By relieving this pressure, it may also reduce painful muscle spasms.
The elastic properties of the tape are thought to have a vacuum effect, lifting skin away from swollen tissue and allowing for easier drainage of excess fluid in a bruised area as well as increased blood flow. Due to this, its usefulness has even been investigated in managing scar tissue.
Kinesiology tape provides injured joints and muscles with support that doesn't require limiting their movement. Its vacuum effect is thought to increase the space for muscle contraction, increasing blood flow and reducing muscle fatigue.
In addition, many athletes use it to increase their proprioception, or their awareness of their own body's movement. It's thought that by acting on the sensory nervous system's awareness of your skin and the underlying muscles and joints, it increases your body's awareness of its own movements and allows for intuitive correction of poor form or posture. After injuries, this may help realign joints or correct muscle imbalances stemming from muscle loss during inactivity.
The mechanics of kinesiology tape are still being reviewed and understood, but athletes, physical trainers, and many others have used it for a variety of purposes. Among them are:
You should always speak to a medical professional, whether a doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or other professional about utilizing a new product for athletics or injury recovery. But Mountainside Medical Equipment carries a number of K-Tape products, including official Kinesio Tex Gold Kinesiology Tape! This versatile, easy-to-use therapeutic tape is available in a variety of colors. Its flexible elastic design and wave-pattern adhesive allow it to stabilize your muscles and joints while giving you the range of motion you need to compete at a high athletic level or just to move comfortably while recovering from injury. Kinesio Tex Gold Kinesiology Tape is available from us today!
Please consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before stopping or starting any medication, supplements, or beginning a health regimen.