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How does kinesiology tape work? It contains no medications or topical ingredients. It is so light and flexible, it is barely noticeable when worn. It is non-restrictive and allows normal movement. A roll of tape costs less than $20 and anyone can learn how to apply it. So, how can Read more

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How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?

How does kinesiology tape workHow does kinesiology tape work? It contains no medications or topical ingredients. It is so light and flexible, it is barely noticeable when worn. It is non-restrictive and allows normal movement. A roll of tape costs less than $20 and anyone can learn how to apply it. So, how can something so simple and inexpensive be so effective at relieving pain, inflammation and swelling?

All of the wonderful benefits of kinesiology taping are related to three things:

1. How the tape interacts with the skin and the underlying fascia
2. How the tape interacts with the nerves under the skin
3. How the tape interacts with the circulatory system under the skin

Following is a simplified explanation of the major mechanisms of action:

 

Injured Muscle Without Kinesiology Tape

Injured Area Without Kinesiology Tape

Trauma to a muscle or joint causes blood and other fluids to collect in the area, resulting in bruising and swelling. As these fluids build up, they exert pressure on pain receptors (sensory nerves) under the skin, causing pain. This combination of pain and inflammation is beneficial immediately after an injury, when rest and immobilization are necessary. Following this acute phase, the fluid should begin to drain away through the lymphatic drainage vessels in the area, allowing the swelling to recede. Sometimes, however,  the inflammation can compress these drainage vessels to the point that they can’t do their job and swelling persists. The blood vessels in the area are also compressed, which reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients for healing. The longer the cycle of pain and inflammation continues, the more delayed the healing response will be.

Injured Muscle With Kinesiology Tape

Injured Area With Kinesiology Tape

When kinesiology tape is applied correctly to the skin over an injured area, the elasticity in the tape gently lifts the skin, creating small convolutions or wrinkles on its surface, which can sometimes be seen in the tape as well (see image at top of page.) These convolutions create a microscopic space between the skin and the tissues below, with alternating areas of negative and positive pressure. In the negative pressure areas, the lymphatic vessels can dilate (open), allowing drainage of excess fluid away from the area, further reducing the pressure on the blood vessels and pain receptors. As blood flow improves, the enhanced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the injured tissues accelerates the healing process.

 

How Kinesiology Tape Helps Bruises Heal Faster

One of the most dramatic examples of this phenomenon occurs when fan or edema strips are applied over large contusions, as shown below. The drainage of blood and fluid under the strips creates the distinctive fan pattern shown on the surface of these bruises.
How kinesiology tape reduces bruising

Video – How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?

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