Kinesio and Dynamic Taping for Athletes: Introduction
The mind of an athlete works in many different ways. An athlete can’t stop, won’t stop and will continue to stay in the competition to push their mental and physical limitations. It’s not just in the game, the race, but it is mostly in the journey, the days of sweat and push of each training session to get them to the end point.
As sports physiotherapists, we understand this edge, this need to treat aching muscles and aching joints with various kinesio and dynamic taping techniques to protect and help heal muscles and restore proper biomechanics. It’s all about recovery and returning to the sports without pain; it’s all about reducing the extent of the injury to prevent it from going to chronic pain. Rehabilitation begins once the tape in on, once the movement patterns are initiated without pain to allow muscles to recover, get stronger; to allow joints to return to proper alignment while the athlete is still able to train.
The benefits of using kinesio tape made news during the 2008 Olympic games when this colorful tape showed up on various limbs and joints of many high profile athletes. With its evidence-based research, this tape can relieve pain and assist healing better than the traditional rigid taping methods.
Kinesio and Dynamic Taping for Athletes: Rigid Taping
Traditional rigid taping is generally not flexible with the goal of supporting the joint or muscle and thus immobilizing the injured part. Kinesiotape is strong and able to move with the athlete allowing muscle and joint to move in its proper movement pattern. Physiotherapists are trained and certified through seminars and clinical practice to apply the tape in a specific pattern dependent on injury. The idea behind the tape lies in knowing the reason of injury, understanding the human anatomy in conjunction with understanding the biomechanics and motor movement patterns. This tape becomes a very powerful tool for the athlete by allowing rehabilitation to occur as muscles are reset to fire when pain is eliminated.
As physiotherapists, movement pattern is analyzed; the functional components are broken apart to look at weak links. Based on the kinetic chain, where the idea that the body is reliant on its body parts as whole (aka. if one part is weak, the chain will become weak and affect larger parts), physiotherapists will not just tape but analyze and prescribe specific exercises to assist in recovery. To take it beyond the normal scope of a physiotherapist, a sports physiotherapist will look at an athlete’s training, an athlete’s recovery, and an athlete’s ability to continue to train and return to the sport as soon as possible. Exercises will be prescribed with the athlete’s specific sport.
The success of returning to sports pain-free lies on the athlete and the specificity of the rehabilitation program while using the taping methods to quicken recovery.