By Taryn Gauley, RMT
With the Rio Summer Olympics having just wrapped up, many are wondering just what WAS that bright colourful tape everywhere? What was it doing? It doesn’t look like the standard white cloth tape and it sure doesn’t act like it either. Those athletes had full motion and the tape didn’t seem to slow them down in the slightest! KT tape, Kinesiotape, Rocktape, Dynatape(KTT for short) etc. are all a more recent development in the world of athletic performance as well as general recovery and rehabilitation from injuries.
KTT is a flexible tape that stretches longways, a far cry from athletic tape that many physiotherapists have used in the past which is built to be a solid and sturdy external support. Athletic tape is made to hold and prevent the person from performing certain actions or limit how far they can move. By blocking the movement, the muscle, joint or ligament is protected from further damage. This does work to a degree, but it usually creates a dependancy on the taping to minimize pain and chance of re-injury. This tape can also only be applied for short periods of time, it gets uncomfortable and tight and often irritates the skin if it gets wet. KTT is very different as it allows full ranges of motion while it supports due to that ability to stretch unidirectionally. By applying the tape with different amounts of tension, different effects can be created. It can help get a muscle to contract more, or to contract less, can also help decrease swelling or pain and even make you more aware of your posture during daily activities. This tape is designed so that it sheds water quickly and without affecting the stickiness of the adhesive so not only can you wear it for days at a time, it will stay put for days while you shower, work out and general live life.
KTT is an inexpensive, drug free method of treating many conditions, helping to speed healing and aid in returning to pre-injury level, whether from competing in the Olympics or picking up your child the wrong way. Pain, swelling, and range of motion injuries like muscles sprains are the amongst the most common targets for a KTT session. Expect to give as much detail of your injury and history on written forms as well as a receive a full orthopaedic assessment of the area before getting taped. Assessments can include but aren’t limited to: range of motion to identify taping factors like anchors and directions of pull; strength and length tests in comparison to the opposing side for directional information; or specific orthopaedic tests for determining internal structure issues like torn ligaments and the degree of tear. After testing, the therapist will likely measure out tape strips, clean the skin and then begin the application. With some issues, particularly those that are frequently reoccurring and easily accessible, like plantar fasciitis, the therapist may explain the process so that you can repeat the taping at home if necessary.
And yes, many therapists have different colours and patterns you can choose from!
For any further questions or desire to book a session, contact Taryn at Kneaded Touch Massage Therapy Barrhaven 613-825-2225 or Merivale 612-226-1900 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reference:K-Taping, An Illustrated Guide by Birgit Kumbrink