Ok…so you’re pumped about kinesiology taping. You pull the roll out of the box and unwrap the plastic covering. It looks cool and it feels nice.
You cut off a strip and go to town.
But wait…things go downhill…the backing is hard to rip and it sticks to your thumb…then it sticks to itself, then your finger again! Shoot…this IS sticky!
You finally get the vital bit on your thigh but there’s wrinkle. Darn! Pull it off and start again. But now it doesn’t stick as well the second time. Arg! Toss the strip and cut a new one!
I’ve been that person! And it’s ugly when it’s in front of a patient who expects you to make it look easy.
Let me save you from experimenting yourself. I wish I had these “tips and tricks from the trenches” before fumbling in front of an audience.
1. Cutting too much tape.
While not as problematic as too little, too much is wasteful. Don’t forget that there is some stretch as the tape is applied. Measure the area with the tape and cut the length about 1-2” shorter.
2. Cutting too little.
Again, not an insurmountable issue, because another piece can be added to the end but it’s best to use one continuous strip for areas less than 2’ in length.
3. Using the wrong width.
There are 1”, 2” (the most common) and 4” widths of kinesiology tape. Coverage needs to be just right. For example, a 400 lb strongman (pictured here) needing tape along the muscle of his spine requires 4” wide tape to do the best job. 2” would look like a marker line and 1” would be a waste of time!
In contrast, the 4” width would be inappropriate for the 85 lb ballerina so use good judgment.
4. Wrapping around a joint.
Get the vision of wrapping race horses out of your mind. Kinesiology taping is not “wrapping” for joint stability. Think of whole muscle lengths and include at least a portion of the muscle above and below.
5. Trying not to cover the “pits”.
The arm pit, the elbow pit the knee pit. These are very sensitive, sweaty regions that are very mobile and are susceptible to irritation.
6. Don’t end tape on tape.
Kinesiology tape is designed to stick to skin and while it does stick to itself, it’s best to have it start and end of skin. If there is crisscrossing of tape in the middle of a sequence somewhere then fine.
7. Prepare the skin to be clean and dry.
Many creams have oils in their formulation breaks down the adhesive in the tape so using an alcohol pad on the area before application is a good idea.
8. Leaving the tape on too long.
5 days is a maximum, not a rule. If your skin feels itchy prior to 5 days, take it off! While the tape allows the skin to sweat and breath normally, not everyone can handle a second skin for more than a few days.
9. Not rounding the edges of each end of the strip.
Corners are easier to snag on cloths so minimize snags by rounding.
10. Do not stretch the tape much.
This is especially important on the first few applications. Lots of stretch does not equate to better result. Quite the contrary, it can result in skin shear, irritation and rash!
While not the end of the world, try to avoid wrinkles in the tape. A key is to not remove too much of the backing at once. There is no need for speed when kinesiology taping so pull the backing away from the tape in segments and apply at a steady pace.