WHAT IS IT?K-tape differs from traditional rigid strapping tape in that it is flexible in certain directions, so it doesn’t provide as much linear restriction as the rigid strapping tape commonly seen on the shoulders or ankles of football players. This is important, as depending on how it is applied, k-tape can provide joint or muscle support, while still allowing the area to move in the way it needs to, without an artificial barrier or restriction holding it back.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Much like traditional strapping tape, k-tape can be used to support an injured joint or muscle, but it can also be used in other ways. K-tape can help reduce oedema (swelling) and bruising by lifting the skin and surrounding tissues away from the other tissues in the area, thereby improving lymphatic drainage. This is important in acute and chronic injuries where you may be suffering from swelling or bruising around a joint or muscle; the quicker you are up and moving around, the quicker your muscles and lymphatic system help pump out waste and inflammatory cells, which speeds up the healing process and reduces pain.
WHAT IS IT USED FOR?
In injuries such as a rotator cuff (shoulder) tendinitis, bursitis or impingement, k-tape can help improve range of movement by firing up under-active muscles, or by calming down an over-active one. The benefit of this is that the injured shoulder is better able to move and become stronger and more functional again, reducing protective muscle spasm, pain and joint, tendon or bursa irritation. On its own, it is not a cure, but can help facilitate the recovery process.
HOW DO I APPLY IT?
Now this is where it gets tricky – k-tape can be used in a variety of ways, in lots of different positions, and with different tension applied to the tape. Even the direction of tape application can alter the effect the tape can have. Your best bet is to chat to your LifeForce physiotherapist who can show you how to apply it, and give you advice on which type of taping is going to be most beneficial for you.