Kinesiology Sports Taping: an Easily Settled Controversy Says Leading Sydney Sports Podiatrist
For years now, the debate has been raging. While some say that kinesiology sports taping does everything from improving sports performance to speeding post-injury recovery, others say it’s just coloured sticky tape that may do nothing at all.
Sports Podiatrist Mark Lin says it’s a debate that’s easily settled – at least, from an individual perspective. The science is a little more confusing.
Kinesiology Sports Taping: The Science
It turns out that there’s quite a lot of science behind kinesiology tape – but that its proponents and detractors hotly contest each other’s claims. And when bias is removed, things get even more puzzling.
In an impartial laboratory environment, one study may seem to show results in favour of kinesiology sports taping while another seems to draw a blank. Study design and scope could be to blame, but that hasn’t stopped athletes from getting serious about the placement of kinesiology tape.
What we do know is that kinesiology sports taping was the brainchild of a Japanese chiropractor, Kenzo Kase. He started his work in the 1970s, commercialised the tape 14 years on, and by the 2008 Olympics, kinesiology tape was everywhere to be seen – if only because Kenzo’s company donated a lot of tape to Olympic athletes. .
It was around about then that people started asking about the science behind kinesiology sports taping. And at the time, there wasn’t much – only theories that seemed to make sense and a history of use in Japanese sports. By this time, there’s a bit more to work with, but still nothing that looks conclusive or compelling.
Why Athletes and Amateurs Wear Kinesiology Tape
Despite controversy in the scientific community, athletes seem to love kinesiology tape. They talk about cutting out painkillers, preventing injuries, relieving inflammation, recovering faster after getting hurt, and getting extra support.
They also speak of greater confidence when wearing the tape – a feeling that they can push themselves further and achieve more. And, of course, some might just be wearing it for fun.
A Sports Podiatrist’s Opinion
Mark Lin believes in using techniques that work for his clients, and kinesiology sports taping is one of the things that his clients say are getting results.
“Maybe it’s just because it gives them more confidence,” he says. “But my reasoning when I first began to use this form of treatment was that wearing something on a part of the body you need to concentrate on is going to help you with awareness as to how it’s positioned and how it’s working.”
“Plus, there’s a light support benefit. Kinesiology tape isn’t unyielding like other strapping tapes. It stretches like skin. So, you’re getting extra support, but you aren’t immobilising anything – you’re not limiting movement.”
Not a Cure-All
Lin doesn’t see kinesiology sports taping as a cure-all. Instead, he thinks it’s a helpful addition to other therapies – and certainly not the right intervention for all the clients he sees.
In podiatry, he says, professionals are dealing with something that could be as unique as your fingerprint – the complex machinery of the foot and its interaction with the lower limbs. As a result, there is no sports podiatry how-to guide that works for absolutely everyone, and by the same token, taping won’t solve everybody’s sports injury issues.
“The kinesiology taping debate is easily settled on an individual level,” says Lin. “If, after assessment, we believe that it is among the interventions that might help you, we can work together to see whether it seems to improve outcomes.”
Mark Lin is a leading Sports Podiatrist in Sydney. Footwork Podiatry has two convenient locations Roseville on Sydney’s North Shore and Sydney CBD. Both offer the full spectrum of podiatry treatments and although they receive referrals from medical doctors, they are willing to assess and assist anyone who suffers from lower-limb issues.
For further information, visit the Sports and Podiatrist Clinic to book online, or call Mark Lin and his friendly team on +61 2 9416 7889.
The information contained in this guide is provided in good faith and is not intended to be nor is it to be used as a substitute for any sort of professional, medical or podiatric advice. An accurate diagnosis can only be made following a personal consultation with a podiatrist. Any users should always seek the advice of their podiatrist, or other qualified healthcare providers before commencing any treatment.
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Also published on Medium.