According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) 2017 Sports, Fitness, and Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report, more people are participating in sporting activities, even if only on a casual basis.
Based on their research, they found an increase in baseball, ice hockey, rugby, and swimming, specifically. Their report also noted that people tend to be spending more money on things like gym memberships and outdoor recreational activities. Unfortunately, sometimes increased activity brings injury.
On November 18, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their National Health Statistics Report, Sports- and Recreation-related Injury Episodes in the United States, 2011-2014. In it, they reveal that, in this four year timeframe, there were 8.6 million reported injuries related to sports and recreation.
Males sustained the most injuries (61.3 percent), as did kids and younger adults in the 5-24 year age range (64.9 percent). Most of the injuries affected the individuals’ lower extremities (42 percent), with upper extremity injuries coming in second (30.3 percent), and head and neck injuries taking third (16.4 percent).
While not all injuries can be treated the same way or by using the same methods, kinesiology tape can sometimes help. In some cases, and if used correctly, it may even prevent these types of injuries from occurring in the first place.
Tape has “multitude of applications”
“There are a multitude of applications, not just related to injuries, but also performance,” says Scott M. Schreiber, DC, DACRB, DCBCN, MS, LDN, Cert. MDT, CKTP, CNS. “They range from simple sprains and strains to fine-tuning elite athlete’s movement patterns.”
If a patient has an acute injury, for example, Schreiber says he uses tape “to decrease inflammation and relieve pain, as well as providing support to the surrounding tissue. This effect is achieved by decompressing free nerve endings and increasing local circulation.” Research confirms these types of positive effects.
One was published in 2016 by The Physician and Sportsmedicine journal, and this study involved 56 participants diagnosed with pes anserinus tendino-bursitis, a condition characterized by inflammation to the bursa on the inside of the knee area. One-half of the participants had Kinesio tape applied three times, with one-week intervals, while the remaining half took naproxen (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID) and engaged in physical therapy (PT).
At the end of the study, the group that was taped had “significantly decreased” pain and swelling when compared with the group who took the NSAID and had PT.
Another study, this one published in 2015 by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, confirms Schreiber’s assertion found that tape provides performance-based benefits. In this case, 75 women between the ages of 18 and 30 were assessed for changes in hand function based on whether they had kinesio tape, kinesio tape without tension, or no tape at all. The group that was taped experienced a stronger handgrip than the control at three different intervals—30 minutes, 24 hours, and 48 hours after the tape was applied.
“Personally, I love the immediate pain relieving and proprioceptive effects RockTape gives to my patients,” says Schreiber, who is certified with this particular tape, as well as a couple other forms of taping. “It allows me to advance rehabilitation and return to normal function more quickly. For my athletes, it makes a huge difference when it comes to training and performance.”
Incorporating taping in your chiropractic practice
If you’re not yet using tape to help your athletic patients prevent and heal sports-related injuries, Schreiber says, “I would definitely recommend taking a certification class to understand the full benefits.”
It’s also beneficial to watch instructional videos online, he adds, some of which can be found right on the tape-provider’s websites.
Schreiber also suggests that, “If you are interested in learning how to use and apply kinesiology taping in practice, practice on many different body types and become familiar with how the tape is applied. If applied incorrectly, you can cause skin irritation and blistering,” he says, adding, “yes, this has happened to me.”