Therapeutic taping is often used by physiotherapists to improve motion, prevent motion, stabilize a joint, decrease swelling, or to prevent injury. There are different taping techniques as well as different types of tape used depending on the goal of the tape job. In general, there are 2 types of tape commonly used by our registered Physiotherapists Burnaby:
This type of tape is usually used to limit motion and to stabilize a joint. This includes tapes like the conventional athletic tape or Leuko P tape.
Elastic Tape (Kinesiology Taping))
This type of tape is used to promote proper movement, help decrease swelling, and improve circulation. Examples of elastic tapes are Kinesio tape, KT tape, Rock Tape, Leuko K tape.
When Would I Choose A Stiff Tape?
This type of tape is commonly used by athletes to prevent injuries or to stabilize a joint. There are different types of taping techniques that help prevent excessive movement of the joint. For example, if you have an unstable ankle and you want to prevent it from rolling over, you can apply athletic tape in a way where it stops the ankle from turning in.
Sometimes stiff tapes can be used to promote better posture. Our physiotherapy in Burnaby often work with office workers where sitting in front of the computer causes neck, shoulder, and back pain. By using posture taping techniques we are able to promote better posture by allowing the body to sense when you are slouching allowing you to correct the habit quicker.
Therapeutic taping can also be used to promote proper joint positioning. If you have knee pain where the kneecap is not moving normally, a stiff tape can be used to maintain the position of the kneecap so when you bend and extend the knee, it keeps it in place.
When Would I Choose An Elastic Tape?
Kinesiology taping is often chosen if you need full range of motion during activities. The advantage of this tape over the conventional stiff tape is that it can also help with swelling, circulation, and provides sensory feedback for the body to activate or inhibit the use of muscles.
Kinesiology taping is a relatively newer type of taping technique developed in the 1970’s. This tape was made to mimic the skin and allow full range of motion during activities. The elastic property of kinesiology tape lifts the skin up in convolutions so it creates space beneath the skin and underlying layers. This promotes circulation, helps remove swelling from the area, as well as decreases pressure on sensory nerves resulting in decreased pain.
Depending on how the tape is applied, it can help activate or inhibit muscle activity. To increase muscle activity, the tape is applied from the origin to the insertion. To inhibit a muscle, the tape is applied from the insertion of the muscle to the origin. As well, the tape can be cut in multiple forms, usually an “I”, “Y”, or circular strip. The muscle fiber type and the structure you are taping will determine what type of strip is used.
Taping is meant to be used temporarily to prevent re-injury, promote healing, and improve pain-free range. Sometimes it can also be used as a way to determine the type of brace or orthosis you may need. In general, taping is not a long-term solution, it is considered a stepping stone to your full healing.
How Long Do You Leave The Tape On For?
If you are using the white sports tape, take it off after the activity. It is usually used for stabilization or prevention of injury so it is not necessary to leave it on any longer. As well, if this type of tape is left on for too long, it can cause skin irritation.
If you are using a stiff tape to promote proper joint alignment and pain-free range of motion during the day, you can leave it on for 3-4 days, or until it falls off. If you find the tape to be irritating for the skin, remove it immediately and gently wash off the area with soap and water.
Elastic tape usually falls off quicker. In general, it stays on for 2-3 days and will naturally start to peel after this time.
As a general rule, leave the tape on if you find that it is helping your condition. If it is causing more pain, remove it immediately.
If you have any questions or want to know more about taping, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Burnaby Physiotherapy.