What is Kinesio Tape?

Find out if this rehabilitative taping technique is right for you.


By Tesa Johns


Whether you're lining up at the start line or out for a casual jog you may see lots of physical activity participants wearing kinesio tape. “ The Kinesio Taping® Method is a definitive rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion.” There is a multitude of evidence supporting and not supporting this method. Which lead to the question does evidence based medical practice involving kinesio tape always show the best results?

The new era of sports medicine is focused around evidence based practice. Evidence based practice is the conscientious use of current best evidence in making decisions about patient care. When it comes to self treating most people search the internet and look at the evidence based practice articles to help determine what is best for them. However, the key phrase is what is best for them. The evidence should be used as a guideline to discover what works for you and your particular injury. Trial and error mixed with a little self perception will determine the best results! If you were to watch youtube videos with the keywords “kinesio tape” followed by a specific injury or body part then an endless amount of instructional videos will be displayed showing countless ways to tape for the same thing. So how do you determine what's best?

What is it?

Before you can determine if kinesio tape works you must understand what it's designed to do. Kinesio tape is designed to promote lymphatic drainage (encourage the natural drainage of the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues back towards the heart) by lifting the skin.

The lifting effect is said to increase interstitial space, allowing for a decrease in inflammation. Decreasing inflammation may reduce pressure which enables more effective flow of blood and lymphatic fluid in and out of the target area. The tape can be applied in thousands of ways for many health benefits. Some research concludes that the tape has the ability to re-educate the neuromuscular system (motor nerves-send signals to the muscles). It is mostly known to reduce pain and inflammation while optimizing performance and preventing injury. So how do you determine which of those thousand ways is the best?

Trial and Error

Try out different tape jobs for a few practice workouts and determine which works best for your specific injury.

Don’t be afraid to create your own tape style! You can tape without restrictions because unlike traditional taping, which has a tendency to bunch up, cause blisters, and interfere with other treatments, you can stretch, ice, swim, shower, foam roll, or massage over an application of kinesiology tape.

Don’t be afraid to jump in and just go for it the first time you try and tape yourself. It generally takes 3 or 4 times to get comfortable with taping before you’ll be taping like the pros.

Besides the ample amount of instructional videos on search engines like Google and Youtube, here are a few tips that will help:

1. Make sure the skin is clean and dry, free from lotions/oils (suntan lotion, skin conditioner, topical treatments, etc). Some bath soaps have moisturizers in them that leave a residue behind, so if you want to play it safe just clean the skin with rubbing alcohol before applying.

2. If applying KT Tape on a joint, be sure the joint is in a fully bent position. If the tape is applied over a knee or elbow in an extended position the tape will become too tight as the body moves through its motions.

3. Never stretch the first or the last of the tape on either end. The tape on the ends should be applied directly to the skin without stretching, otherwise it will pull up and will not stick.

4. Lastly, be sure to set the adhesive by firmly rubbing the tape & make sure all the edges are down. For best results apply the tape 30 minutes before athletic activity.

Tesa is new to blogging, but hopes to make a big impact with her vast knowledge of athletics and experience. Tesa recently earned her bachelor's degree at the Pennsylvania State University. While majoring in Athletic Training and minoring in psychology, she worked with various division one collegiate sports teams. Tesa is continuing her education by pursuing her Master's of Science in Kinesiology with a concentration in sports pedagogy at The Louisiana State University. Tesa is a board certified Athletic Trainer and a Performance Enhancement Specialist. Outside of the training room, Tesa enjoys going on runs and working out for leisure.

Main Photo Credit: Patricia Chumillas/; Second Photo Credit: Lolostock/; Third Photo Credit: lightwavemedia/; Fourth Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia/

Jul 8, 2016

I'm wondering if this would be beneficial for arthritic joints? I'm wondering if it would help relieve some of the pain when doing ANY type of squatting...and I'm talking getting Tupperware out of the lower cabinet. Hurts like hell to stand back up. Maybe help be build up some strength.