Kinesiology tapes: what are they and what are they for?

Surely in recent years you have seen numerous athletes compete or train with striking colored tapes, it is what is called kinesiological tapes or more colloquially kinesio tapes. Its presence does not go unnoticed, and far from being an aesthetic complement, it is a technique to relieve pain and improve certain muscle injuries.

Although it is today when we see them most, they are over 30 years old and were born in Japan. They are elastic bands, which are located in the affected area, so that they do not impede movement. It is a method of treating pain even while exercising.

Discover the main uses of kinesiology tapes

You may have seen them in runners who train and compete on a daily basis. They are  adhesive strips that are placed on the legs, shoulders or arms,  generally, and that form a neuromuscular bandage focused on  relieving muscle pain or improving a certain injury. 

Studies warn that if we have a work injury and we put on one of these tapes, we probably won’t notice anything. However, for elite athletes and competitors, the straps can be of great help, as they support the muscles and therefore offer stability to improve the contraction of the weakened muscle. They are ideal for relieving pain caused by muscle strain or contractures, tendonitis, etc.

Along these lines, and always taking into account the opinion of a physiotherapist, kinesiological bandages can be applied following three main techniques, depending on the area to be treated. Although some variants have recently been developed (fan, mesh, circular), the three basic ways to place the kinesiological tapes are:

  • Bandage “I”: a single strip is used and is indicated for small or linear areas.
  • Y-shaped bandage: should be used for large muscles.
  • Bandage in the shape of an “X”: it is also used for large and long muscles.

How do kinesiology strips or bandages work?

To understand the operation of these elastic tapes we have to know what the tapes are made of. It is a cotton tape with a glue that adheres it to the skin. In addition, the tapes are elastic, so they can adapt perfectly to the affected area where we want to place them. In this way, they do not interrupt or limit movement and maintain good blood circulation.

The tapes are placed with the muscle stretched, and once we relax it, folds are created that act on the skin cells favoring the injury. Among the most prominent benefits of kinesio tapes, we find the following.

Pain relief

Thanks to the tapes our pain receptors decrease, which causes that, when we wear them, we do not notice it as much as without them. In this way, we can say that kinesio tapes have an analgesic effect that can be very useful.

Anti-inflammatory

By placing the tape on the affected area, local drainage is accelerated. Thanks to this, we can notice an anti-inflammatory effect in the area, which will help us to get better marks.

Improve mobility

When we have an injury or pain in a muscle, it is normal that it costs us more to move it than usual. Well, with the tapes our neuro-mechanical response improves and we can notice an improvement in our mobility.