Kinesio Taping Offers Benefits for Patients, Practice

ORLANDO, Fla. — Throughout the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the
fasciitis using Kinesio tape during a demonstration at the 2010 North American Pedorthic Congress ” width=”400″ height=”373″ hspace=”0″ vspace=”0″ border=”1″>   Mike Forgrave shows an example of
treatment of plantar fasciitis using Kinesio tape during a demonstration at the
2010 North American Pedorthic Congress   Image: Pavlou SZ, O&P Business

Although Kinesio taping gained public recognition during the Olympics,
85% of its use is non-athletic, Forgrave said.

Perhaps the most important feature of kinesio taping, he told
O&P Business News, is its ability to lift the skin surrounding
the injury, creating wrinkles — called convolutions — that facilitate
the flow of lymph fluid and increase blood flow in the resulting low pressure
area under the skin. This movement also decreases the amount of pressure on the
skin’s mechanoreceptors, which reduces pain in that area.

The treatment can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as
cryotherapy, ultrasound or acupuncture, and as an interim solution while the
practitioner fabricates a more permanent treatment, like an orthosis.

Patients suffering from a number of different types of musculoskeletal
injuries can benefit from Kinesio taping. People with lymphodema, for example,
find significant changes in their edema when using this treatment, Forgrave
said. It can be used for fascial release and scar tissue reduction, as well as
almost any condition that creates pain and swelling.

The treatment does not require much maintenance, either, since the
Kinesio tape can be left on the patient’s skin for 3 to 5 days — even
through bathing or activity.

Other athletic tape constricts the person’s range of motion,
limiting the ability to perform a task, he said.

“This is one of the reasons it is so popular with athletes. They
not only find it relieves the pain but they are also able to play to the best
of their ability,” he said.

Prior to treating a patient with this method, Forgrave encourages both a
formal physician screening and diagnosis, and a biomechanical examination,
including a thorough patient history. He advises practitioners to remember that
less is more, and to always tape with the affected area in a flexed/extended

“The nice part about [Kinesio tape] is that each practitioner can
utilize it in their own way,” Forgrave said. “The basic premise is
the same but how it is applied is up to the practitioner.”

One of the most common uses he sees in his practice is for the treatment
of plantar fasciitis. To apply tape for this patient, he uses three separate
pieces of tape: one fan strip and two “I” strips. He cuts the first
piece of tape into a fan, measuring from heel to slightly proximal to the
metatarsophalangeal joints (MTPs), dorsiflexing the foot and extending the
toes, and then he lays the Kinesio tape from the heel to the MTPs with no
tension on the heel, but with 75% tension on the tails. Then he measures an
“I” strip across the metatarsal heads from the first to the fifth
MTP, and applies the tape with approximately 25% stretch, keeping the phalanges
extended. Finally, he measures another “I” strip from the cuboid
under the foot to the navicular, inverts the foot and applies the tape with 75%
stretch from the cuboid to the navicular. Doing this will cause the tape to
surpass the navicular and onto the dorsum of the foot, he noted.

Kinesio taping should not be used over active malignancy sites, active
cellulitis or skin infections, or open wounds. Patients with deep vein
thrombosis, diabetes, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, or fragile or
healing skin also should not use it. Since the brand of tape is made of cotton,
and the adhesive is acrylic and non-latex, Forgrave said that the likelihood of
skin reaction is minimal. Patients who experience itchiness or redness on the
skin surrounding the tape should remove the tape from that area.

“I tell my patients, ‘This tape won’t cure you but it
will help jump start the healing process,’” he said.

Aside from offering applications of this treatment to his patients, he
also will teach them a simple method of application so they can use the tape at

To become a certified Kinesio tape practitioner (CKTP), qualified
candidates must attend three day-long courses administered by a certified
Kinesio tape instructor and sanctioned by the Kinesio Tape Association, and
then successfully pass an online examination. — by Stephanie Z. Pavlou

Disclosure: Mike Forgrave, CPed(C),
CKTP, does not have any relevant financial disclosures.


It is so light, I don’t know that it’s there. As much as you
can’t feel it, you can feel something going on. It’s just so light.
It doesn’t hurt.

I’ve used athletic tape and that is stiff. It’s coarse. It
doesn’t flex with you. It digs into you. This is just like your skin. It
isvery comfortable. I’m thrilled that I was able to get him to [use me as
a volunteer].

— Marcia Rackliffe, CPed
Store manager, The
Shoe Smith LLC Disclosure: Marcia Rackliffe does not have any relevant
financial disclosures.

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