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What is Kinesiology Tape?

Kinesiotape is a very flexible high-grade cotton medical tape first developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase from Japan. The tape was designed with the famous fingerprint wave pattern that can help lift the skin to create space between the skin and tissue layers. The tape can help relieve discomfort, inflammation, and swelling. Kinesiotape is the brand name, but there are many other types of kinesiology tape on the market as well.

Disclaimer

Although I am a physical therapist by profession, I am not your physical therapist.  This information is for educational purposes only, it does not constitute medical advice and does not establish any kind of therapist-patient relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.

Precautions & Things to Know Before Using Kinesiology Tape

  • Prep your skin – make sure it is clean and dry and free from lotions
  • Do not tape over any open wounds
  • Tape can last 3 to 5 days however if any redness or discomfort occurs, remove promptly
  • The adhesive is heat activated, so rubbing helps the tape to adhere and to withstand sweating, showering and swimming
  • Always round the edges to help the tape
  • With pregnancy, your skin stretches and can become more sensitive, again remove if your skin becomes irritated
  • Always leave an anchor of 1 inch on either side of tape application that is not stretched for better durability

What & Where to Buy?

In the clinic, I always use Kinesiotape brand tape, however Rock Tape, KT Tape, and SpiderTech are other good options. You can purchase pre-cut tape, but buying a roll of tape gives you greater customization and flexibility (and less wasting).

Depending on where your pain is, there are different taping patterns to help address your specific pain. Read more below on each taping option to determine the best fit for you. If you’re pregnant, check out this article to look at different taping patterns to use during pregnancy.


Kinesiotape for Back Pain

Kinesiotape can effectively alleviate back pain through its unique combination of support and mobility. The tape’s elastic properties allow it to gently lift the skin, which can alleviate pressure on the underlying muscles and nerves. By improving blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, kinesiotape helps reduce inflammation and swelling in the affected area, contributing to pain relief. Additionally, the tape’s proprioceptive feedback enhances body awareness, encouraging better posture and movement patterns, which can help prevent further strain on the back muscles. Overall, kinesiotape offers a non-invasive and versatile option for managing back pain, complementing other treatments such as exercise and physical therapy.

H Tape Pattern

Kinesiotaping for low back pain

This taping method is great for general support of the low back. You can adjust the horizontal piece to be placed across the area where you feel most of the pain throughout your low back. If your pain is higher up on your back or lower on your sacrum, you can adjust to find specific relief.

  • Cut the tape in two long strips and one shorter strip (two approximately 5-6 squares, 1 approximately 4 squares of tape)
  • Round the edges on both pieces
  • Rip the tape at the anchor, place on your lower back on one side of your spine
    • Peel back remaining paper leaving 1 in at the end of the tape
    • Gently stretch the tape and lay along the side of your spine
    • Stop stretching and gently lay the anchors unstretched onto your skin as you peel off the backing
  • Repeat this step for the other side of the spine
  • With the last piece, rip the tape in the center and peel back the paper leaving 1 inch at either end of the tape
    • Place across your low back at the point where most of the discomfort is present and adhere
    • Stop stretching and gently place the anchors unstretched onto your skin as you peel off the backing
  • Note: Make sure the tape ends on your skin versus on top of another piece of tape, it helps the longevity

Removing the Tape

The tape can be used for 3-5 days as long as there is no skin irritation. If it starts to peel back, you can trim the edges of the tape or try to smooth it out again. If you want to remove it, you can use baby oil to help break down the adhesive, let it soak in for a few minutes, and peel back slowly. You can also try removing it directly after a shower when it is softened. Remove any excess adhesive with oil.

More Taping Patterns to Come

Remember that kinesiology tape is just one tool for managing knee pain, and it’s essential to address the underlying cause of your pain with appropriate treatment and rehabilitation exercises. If you’re unsure about taping techniques or have persistent knee pain, consult a healthcare professional for guidance.