The difference between the Athletic Tape and Kinesiology Tape

I was watching WWE wrestling with my kids the other day and they drew my attention to a particular wrestler who had a colourful taping round one of his arms.

They wanted to know what that tape was, since the wrestler had a history of injury on that arm.

What exactly are tapes and what purpose do they serve? What are the different kinds of tapes and are there any major differences?
Why all the hype about the kinesio tape?

Tapes are of different types and used for different purposes; they can either be corrective, supportive or compressive.

The Athletic Tape
The athletic or sport tape is a supportive tape. This adhesive tape is used on athletes to prevent injury by providing support around an injured joint or muscle.
This type of taping is usually done around the wrists, hands, ankles and feet for a specific athletic activity and afterwards removed.
The athletic tape is of basically two types:
A white somewhat rigid adhesive tape containing zinc oxide which helps the tape to mould to the part applied like a cast (when body temperature goes up).

Elastikon Tape
It is an elastic tape made of cotton elastic cloth and has a rubber based adhesive base. It is usually used to offer support to the knee, elbows and shoulders.
Elastoplast is another strong tape used to offer support.

The Kinesiotape

The kinesio taping method was first developed in 1979 by a Japanese chiropractor Dr. Kenzo Kase.

Dr Kenzo wanted something that could prolong or some how continue the effects of manual therapy in between treatment sessions for his patients.
(This definitely makes recovery quicker and better controlled.)
The kinesiology tape has unique properties that enable it to give dynamic support; it still allows some amount of “safe” movement.

Unlike the rigid athletic tape that is only used for a day the kinesio tape can be worn for 4-5 days.

When the tape is applied to the skin it lifts the skin and soft tissue away from the muscle to allow increased blood flow and lymphatic drainage which eventually leads to pain relief.

Uses of the Kinesiology Tape

1. Rehabilitation
When athletes come for manual therapy, the kinesio tape can be applied after the session to help continue and some how accelerate the healing process.

2. Pain Relief
Like I mentioned before, taping helps improve blood flow and drainage, and the resultant effect is pain relief.

3. Injury prevention
Athletes can have the kinesio tape worn on particular sensitive areas (particularly muscles and joints) to prevent or minimize injury during performance.

The kinesio tape can be worn during sporting activities (as we’ve seen), exercise and swimming.

Chiropractors, Physical Therapists and Athletic trainers are those who usually have the skills to apply this tape.

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