Kinesio Taping: use and benefits for injury prevention

Fisiorunning’s advice on when and why to rely on elastic adhesive tapes to protect muscles and joints before a run

Dario Domeniconi

March 8, 2024 (changed at 09:08) – MILAN

If before a race we feel a intense pain and we are short of time (physiotherapy sessions and other therapies, at the last minute, can do very little), we could rely on Kinesio taping. Balotelli teaches! We all remind them of this European Championships 2012: after scoring the goal at Germany, he rejoiced, taking off his shirt and revealing three vertical blue ribbons on his lumbar area. But what is the use of the Kinesio taping? He explains it to us Physiorunning.

what is kinesio taping?

This is an elastic adhesive tape developed in Japanby Dr. Kenzo Kase, in the 70s. His idea was to apply this type of tape after chiropractic activity to prolong the benefits of the treatment. Unlike normal adhesive tape which supports (but blocks) the joints and does not activate the skin, the Kinesio taping allows the joint free movement and microscopically lifts the skin from the underlying tissues making it easier to remove lymphatic drainage. Thus speeding up the recovery And relieving the ache. Kinesio taping consists of synthetic fabric (more supportive, even for long races) or cotton (softer), from a elasticized material and hypoallergenic adhesive glue. It can stretch up to double its length even if you use it at most 75% more than its resting length. Several scientific studies have dealt with Kinesio taping and have evaluated good results on Iliotibial Band Syndrome by reducing tension on the Iliotibial muscle. During the swing phase it reduces knee flexion, reducing the pain associated with Patellofemoral Syndrome. On ankle sprains prevents relapses and further failures, even if it does not structurally replace the muscle strength of ankle restraint. Let’s not forget, however, that the tape will never be a crutch with a weight-bearing function, but helps muscles increase their recruitment. For this reason, as another study confirms, with the tape the problems caused by incorrect running biomechanics arise later.

how to use tapes or elastic bandages

Before application it is recommended to cleanse the skin with an alcoholic solution and dry it well. If there is hair on the skin, it is advisable to hair removal to increase the grip and durability of the tape. In these conditions it can last from 3 to 5/7 days, depending on the activity and type of skin, whether more or less oily. The tape can be wet and used in water, taking care to dry it well afterwards. A wet tape it transfers humidity and cold into the underlying tissues giving a muscle retraction reaction. To remove it we will not have to tear it, but wet it with soapy water and slowly move the skin away from the tape. Warning: very powerful glues could cause an allergic reaction. In case of burning, itching and redness detach the tape immediately, cleanse the skin with delicate soaps and apply a specific emollient cream. Furthermore, depending on its use, the tape will be applied anatomically and with different tensions depending on the purpose. It will be cut to a suitable length, rounding the edges for greater stability. The elongation will range from 25% to 75% for greater support. Once applied, it is recommended to gently rub the tape to make the underlying adhesive adhere better.

How to prevent running injuries

It is always advisable that is applied by a healthcare professional. For repeated problems, the runner is taught to self apply it: to be able to use it also in emergencies last minute or if it comes loose. Let’s look at some specific uses.

  • Knee pain: moving the tape down from the quadriceps and opening it in two on the sides of the kneecap, cross it again under the knee. We secure the kneecap more with a transversal tape under it (Photo 1).
  • Achilles tendon pain: starting from the heel, we move up the tendon and into the transition area to the muscle belly. We divide the ribbon laterally on the two twins (Photo 2).
  • Hamstring pain: we position two long ribbons, from under the buttock to behind the knee. One laterally and one medially (Photo 3).
  • Plantar Fascia Pain: place a tape along the sole of the foot and one across it to support the arch of the foot (photo 4).

Further scientific research is underway to evaluate its effectiveness: after having established his benefits in providing support and stability, decreasing pain and swelling, activating muscles and reducing fatigue. Finally, giving a skin sensation of firmness and comfort. The most appreciated by all runners.