If you watched the Olympic games, you probably noticed the brightly colored strips of tape some athletes had stretched across their bodies.

Called kinesiology tape, the tape helps reduce athlete’s pain and improve their performance. But you don’t have to be one of the world’s fastest, strongest or most talented athletes to use it. Anyone can learn to use it to their advantage.

What Is Kinesiology Tape?

Often called kinesio tape or even K-tape, the tape is made from soft, flexible cloth. When placed on you muscles, it reduces pain and prompts your muscles to work more efficiently. The tape puts force on your muscles so their movements are much more synchronized, especially after an injury. Kinesio tape also increases blood flow and promotes the lymph system to remove toxins from your body. Therefore, it reduces pain and inflammation.

How Does it Work?

Here’s a real world example. If a basketball player has a sore shoulder, he might shoot differently because his other muscles must compensate for the one that’s giving him trouble. But if he puts K-TAPE, kinesio tapekinesio tape on his sore shoulder it will reduce the inflammation that’s causing the pain and free up his other muscles to work correctly.

Keep in mind if you have a serious injury like a torn ACL or meniscus, no amount of kinesio tape will help. You’ll need the services of an orthopedic surgeon to get back in the game.

Does it Hurt?

It does seem like putting tape on your skin before taking part in physical activity would be painful. But the adhesive that is used mimics the elasticity of your skin so it moves with you, not against you. It won’t pull or tear your skin, no matter how active you are.

How Do I Apply it?

There’s a lot of information on the Internet about how to apply K-tape. But proper application depends on the type of injury you have. It’s always best to let an orthopedic specialist instruct you in the right ways to use kinesio tape. Talk with a sports medicine expert at Southeast Orthopedics in Jacksonville for instructions about using the tape.

And remember, K-tape won’t help an injury heal. Rest, ice and heat, massage, stretching and rehab exercises are the best treatments for many sports-related injuries.

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