youíve wondered about that brightly colored tape youíve seen
adorning the bodies of professional athletes like Serena Williams, Lance
Armstrong and David Beckham. It isnít a new type of tattoo, itís
Kinesio Tape, strategically placed on their bodies to help reduce pain
and improve the healing of injuries. Developed by a chiropractor,
Kinesio Tape is thin woven elastic color-coded tape that is used on
joints and muscles where support and stability is needed.
Kinesio Tape isnít
new, but its popularity has grown in recent years. "This is
different than other types of athletic tape. It mimics the qualities of
actual skin," according to Jennifer Bultman, a physical therapist
with Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare. Rather than strapping down a muscle
ó like taping an ankle ó the tape stretches to allow free movement
and letís the bodyís own muscular system heal itself. "The
Kinesio Tape encourages muscles to function as they would if they didnít
need the tape. If your sore muscles are supported and allowed to heal,
you should not be in as much pain," Bultman says.
Athletes are not
the only ones benefitting from Kinesio Tape. "We use it on patients
with arthritis, shoulder pain, swelling, chronic pain, and a lot of
other conditions. Weíre seeing some good results," Bultman says.
Cheryl Ward of Milwaukee is one of the success stories. "I had knee
replacement surgery on June 14. When I started physical therapy, I was
still having quite a bit of pain, and I was walking with a cane. After
Jennifer put the tape on my knee, I was taking fewer pain pills and I
didnít feel like I needed to use the cane any longer," Ward says.
Success depends on
proper evaluation of the patientís condition and proper application of
the Kinesio Tape. The tape is water resistant and an application usually
lasts from three to five days before the elastic properties diminish and
it must be reapplied. "You can do it yourself, but to get the
correct results, you need to be trained by a professional," Bultman
Ward is happy with
the benefits she has seen. "I was surprised that something like
this tape could make any difference, but Iím just amazed at how well
it works," she says.