Have you seen athletes with brightly colored stripes across their shoulders or perhaps criss-crossing their thigh or even outlining a knee? Did you find yourself wondering what this new craze was? Well, wonder no more. This is no fad or trivial trend, and it's not some new fangled tribal tattoo either... what you are seeing is Kinesiology taping.
Those flourescent stripes that you’ve seen on Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Olympic Beach Volleyball champion Kerri Walsh and legendary Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong are a result of Kinesiology Taping. The term Kinesiology has its origins in human Kinetics, which is the scientific study of movement. Although Kinesiology tape has been around for over 20 years, many elite athletes were seen using the tape at the 2008 Beijing Olympics...and since then, its popularity soared. These days, you’re just as likely to see Kinesiology taping on a suburban runner as a star athlete.
The reason for its popularity is simple. Therapeutic Kinesiology tape is made from stretchy, sticky breathable fabric that, once applied, supports muscle movement and helps to calm inflammation and reduce pain. After application, Kinesiology tape allows a full range of movement, which is why athletes are finding it so crucial, both in training and in competition.
Kinesiology tape works in different ways:
It helps to lift, stretch and support injured muscles, tendons and ligaments, so it can be especially useful for runners suffering from runner's knee, Plantar Fasciitis or shin splints. As the tape is flexible, like a rubber band, it's able to expand and contract which assists tissue function. This means that inflamed or damaged muscles and tendons are constantly protected and further injury can be avoided. Kinesiology tape helps to externally support injured tissue allowing it to rest and repair.
The tape is very thin and soft to the touch but it’s tensile strength and durability allow it to be worn whilst competing in the toughest environments. Some models, like 3B Tape, are waterproof and stay on under water for hours and hours for swimmers and triathletes.
Away from competitive sports and Kinesiology offers benefits to patients with arthritis or those suffering with muscle, joint and ligament strains.
So, when you next attend a sporting event or watch the Olympics, keep a look out for those colored bands of Kinesiology tape... it's doing a great job supporting our athletes.