In recent years, we have been introduced to the use of what appears to be colorful, abstract tape art applied to various parts of the body of professional athletes. We can see this in Olympic volleyball players during games, NFL draft candidates during combine, NBA players in the US, to name a few highly visible examples. The tape is known as Kinesio Tape and the art of application is called Kinesio Taping®, also known as “KT Taping”. Information provided by and Dr. Kases’ Facebook, share that Dr. Kenzo Kase, an American-educated chiropractor, developed this technique while in Japan. The driving force behind his effort was fueled by his findings that more traditional methods, such as tapes and athletic straps, provided support but also restricted or reduced range of motion. He also found that traditional taping and strapping did not support the fascia and, in some cases, inhibited the healing process. He felt a new method was needed that was intended to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting range of motion, as well as promoting the long-lasting benefits of manual therapy. His adventure in achieving his goals began in 1973. He then spent the next several years learning about muscle taping, tape elasticity, adhesiveness, and breathability. Ultimately, he successfully created Kinesio Taping® and his KTex®Tape quickly followed suit. Of course, Kinesio Taping® was not initially accepted in the US, but instead, at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the benefits of KTape were seen and utilized. The UK soon followed suit and recognized the benefits in its Olympic and athletic environment. Kinesio taping wasn’t used in the US until 1995 and it was big news with the 2008 Olympics. describes the Kinesio Taping® Method as a “rehabilitation technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints, without restricting the body’s range of motion, in addition to providing extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy delivered within the clinical setting. The benefits of KTex® tape include that it is latex-free and can be worn for several days at a time. It is also safe for populations ranging from pediatric to geriatric and, when used correctly, successfully treats a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, and neurological conditions. KTape does this by targeting different receptors within the somatosensory system, allowing the application of the tape to provide pain relief.

I recently had the pleasure of using the KTape applications, along with rehabilitative exercises, to help a patient gain a significant increase in sensory perception, range of motion, and function after a trauma-induced case of wrist drop. sharp. The response from the clinical application was amazing. After six weeks of traditional physical therapy, the patient continued to experience severe deficits in range of motion, strength, and sensation. She came to me with essentially little to no improvement and high hopes for something better than what she was told. Realizing that none of her therapies included post-treatment sensory input. My idea was to perform range of motion therapy in conjunction with electrical stimulation to essentially “wake up” the radial nerve and use subsequent kinesio tape therapies to allow constant sensory input. I was hoping to create a longevity of therapy input, as with enough active input and additional passive input, this can allow the affected nerve to regain activity and thus function. After the first manual therapy I applied kinesio tape along the wrist extensors, with a 25% stretch. This was to see if KTaping was a viable option. At her next visit, she explained that for the first time since she began any treatment she had felt a “feeling” in her hand and forearm. I perceived this as a positive response and began an aggressive push for therapy and rehabilitation.

Six weeks later, he presented his specialist with several strategic applications of KTape to promote proper movement and feel of the wrist, finger, thumb, and forearm. The patient’s improvement at that time was estimated at 60%. His doctor ordered six more weeks of therapy. After six weeks of aggressive reconstruction of the neuromusculoskeletal communication aspects of her wrist, hand, and thumb, kinesio tape was worn throughout the patient’s therapy. I used kinesio tape throughout the patient’s therapy as a means of providing constant neuromuscular feedback intended to reinforce therapy.

I am pleased to say that this patient I am sharing about has returned to see her specialist and has been rated at 95% capacity with long-term residuals of mildly decreased sensation and most likely occasional flare-ups of the accommodating muscles and joints with increased use. Of course KTape will be ready for that.

Seeing and using the Kinesio Taping technique firsthand is phenomenal. Kinesio Taping® has certainly come a long way since it began as a flash in Dr. Kase’s brain in 1973. It also appears to have a bright future in the clinical setting.

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