Does Kinesiology tape really work for injuries?
The short answer is yes and no.
It all depends on how you use it, or more importantly, what your intentions or goals are with your injury.
Taping is very popular amongst pro-athletes and oddly in CrossFit enthusiasts specifically, which is why I'm writing about this today. I don't have anything against Kinesiology tape (K Tape), I use it in my own practice on my patients, but very rarely do I ever feel the need for it.
For some reason CrossFitters, and other athletes that work out just as hard, are covered in this stuff. My question is...are you doing ANYTHING ELSE to actually treat and recover from your injuries?
Here is what K Tape can do for you:
Support muscles and joints
Help reduce pain momentarily
Prevent further injury and muscle fatigue (which is why I use it with my clients)
Here is what it can't do for you:
ANYONE with a body needs to actually treat their injuries if they are going to make serious demands on their body like in CrossFit (I'm not anti-CrosssFit either, I did it for 2 years with the help of my acupuncturist and lots of massages and stretching --in other words I practiced self care along with my workouts)
Is Kinesiology tape enough to treat an injury?
No. In my professional opinion, as someone who specializes in treating pain successfully, absolutely not.
"Self care" is a term severely lacking in the CrossFit world. I hear about taping and eating Paleo but I don't hear enough about actual self care that goes outside of someone buying a cream, a lotion or tape and seeing an actual professional to treat their injuries. Continuing your workouts while injured isn't a badge of honor, it's simply not smart and you'll regret it one day.
I became an acupuncturist because I was in chronic pain and saw several health professionals in desperate attempts to heal my pain. It wasn't until I started getting acupuncture that my pain was finally resolved. This is what drives me to heal other people. I would never tell you not to follow your doctor's or Physical Therapists advice, but understand that K Tape is literally a band aid for your pain.
Acupuncture, treats what is causing your pain, your PT can then help you develop better body mechanics so that you move better preventing the same injury from reoccuring. And of course, if your injury is serious enough that you need surgery, acupuncture can help you recover faster.
Kinesiology Taping for Achilles Tendonitis
I had a patient with achilles tendonitis. Male, 28yrs old, a former Rugby player who currently stays fit by doing HIT workouts and lifting heavy weights along with some rowing for cardio because it hurt too much to run. Tendonitis is treatable but takes a few sessions because it's most likely a chronic case of it. I've never had anyone come in with tendonitis of any kind as a first inquiry to fix it, they usually see a sports medicine doctor and physical therapist first. The acupuncturist is sadly, usually the last hope in cases of tendonitis which is too bad because we are the ones that do the best job of resolving it.
I treated the trigger points responsible for causing the achilles tendon pain and this was a perfect time to use K Tape. I taped his calf so that the muscles remained supported and stretched until I could treat him again. We did this every time I saw him and after 4 sessions he no longer needed the tape and his Achilles Tendonitis was resolved for good. Can it come back again? Yes I think it can if he doesn't take the time to properly warm up and do hamstring and calf stretches after his workouts. As of today, it's been over 6 months and he hasn't needed to treat it again.
He can now run comfortably.
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