Tale of the Tape

Today’s blog entry come from JP, and although it’s his first time, he dove right in with an introduction to a specialized form of taping. JP is a Registered Massage Therapist at Aim2Walk and has also been around our advanced rehab technologies as long as any of the senior therapists.  He’s taken a special interest in utilizing Kin Tape with our neurological population of clients, and so far the results have been great. Enjoy!

Tale of the TapeJP2

I’ve been asked to write about some of the innovative techniques that we have here at Aim2walk for our clients.  The first thing that I thought of was tape.  What about tape? When we think of tape or taping, most people would think of that hard rigid athletic tape that’s been around for ages.  Its primary purpose is to provide sturdy support and limit range of motion, sometimes less blood flow to the area as a side effect.  Some of us think about duct tape, the almighty tape that could fix anything.

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The tape I’m going to cover is called Kin Tape (aka KT Tape, aka Kinesioape).  Aliases and different companies aside, this style of tape was developed in the late 70`s by a funky Japanese doctor named Dr. Kenzo Kase.  But research and use didn’t start until the late 80`s, and primarily only by athletes at the Seoul Summer Olympic Games.  As the years went by, Kin Tape was becoming more recognized as an alternative for taping injuries, pain management, joint support without restriction of movement…and you look cool wearing it!

Dr. Kenzo Kase

Dr. Kenzo Kase

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Here are some of the basic principles of using kinesiotape:

First, ask yourself what do I need to tape for?  It all depends on the type of injury or purpose of the taping job you will do.

Second, what type of tape cut should I use?  There are many different kinds of tape cuts used depending on the first principle.  There is the Y technique, most commonly used to surround the muscle as well as inhibit or activate them. The I strip is mostly used for acutely injured muscle to limit swelling.  The X is used for muscles that have multiple attachments that can change depending on the movement they do.  The FAN is mainly used for lymphatic drainage techniques.  The WEB cut is just a modified version of the FAN cut.  The DONUT cut is used for treating a focal area with overlapping strips.

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Lastly, the effect you want on the muscle will determine the tape direction and tension you apply to the tape.  INSERTION to ORIGIN helps inhibit muscles, and make sure the muscle you want to tape is in a stretched position and tape tension is about 15% to 25% of the available tension.  ORIGIN to INSERSION is used for muscles that need more activation or chronically weak muscles.  Following these principles will help you develop an effective taping technique and not create the just feels like tape on my skin effect.

So why do we use this in the clinic?  We have a variety of clients that come in the clinic with injuries ranging from musculoskeletal conditions such as muscle strains, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, etc… but we mainly focus on clients with neurological conditions such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy among other conditions.  One of the ways we’ve used the tape is through supporting the shoulder joint after a stroke because of the subluxation.  As a secondary effect of some neurological conditions, edema can also restrict movement and cause some pain.  Kintape has help bring down swelling for some of our patients.

Some of the literature on kintape proves to be promising. The research I came across demonstrates Kin Tape is able to:

– improve gross motor function for people with cerebral palsy

– decreas pain in some soft tissue injuries such as strains and sprains

– significantly decrease swelling in an area of injury.

But more research is needed for the use of Kin Tape in neurological conditions and its long term effectiveness.  There is light in the end of the tunnel now that Kin Tape is gaining more attention in the medical research field and we at Aim2Walk will continue to move forward until the last roll.

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