The sports enthusiast is probably already familiar with it: the colored tape that decorates the calves, thighs or arms of (top) athletes. This so-called medical tape is also being used more and more by non-athletes. Why?

Physical therapist Mark Chen explains it.

1. What is medical taping?

“Medical taping is the collective name for taping with the characteristic, brightly colored, elastic tape. There are many different brands (Curetape, Kinesiotape, X-tape) that are all similar in appearance and function.

The founder of medical taping is the Japanese Kenzo Kase. In the seventies, Kase was already a well-known name in chiropractic and acupuncture. His main point is that physical exercise and muscle activity are necessary to prevent or cure physical problems.

The stiff tape that was available at that time and was used mostly to restrict the freedom of movement of a muscle or joint did not have this effect. Kase, therefore, looked for a tape was more like human skin. In this way, you can improve the physical functions and support injured muscles and joints, without restricting the body’s movement possibilities.

Thus, after years, Medical tape was put on the market. In the last ten years, Medical tape has also gained a lot of popularity in Europe and more and more physiotherapists are becoming skilled in medical taping. ”

2. What kind of injuries medical taping suitable for?

“Medical tape can be used for many different types of injuries.bApplications of the tape are nowadays mainly seen in the sports world. In case of problems in the musculoskeletal system, the tape is often used to support joints or to influence muscles to increase or decrease the load on that structure.

The tape can also be used for posture correction, swelling reduction, pain reduction and improving skin condition for example with scar tissue. Medical taping is extremely versatile. Not all therapists are trained to apply all aspects of the tape, so ask your practitioner for the possibilities. ”

3. What kind of tape is used?

“With medical taping, the tape is used that has the same elasticity as the skin, is very thin and sticks well, it is ventilating, skin-friendly, moisture-resistant and anti-allergic, but it is advisable to apply the tape to a dry, clean, hair-free surfaces.

There are several brands of tape and the type used will differ per therapist. I myself have experience with one type of tape (Cure Tape), so it is difficult to give an objective opinion about which is best. It is ultimately a matter of which tape works best for you.

4. Can you do everything ‘while taped’?

“Depending on the technique and the skin of the client, the tape can last between four and ten days, during which time you can do everything with it: exercise, showering and even swimming! The tape breathes and transports moisture, so it causes no mushy skin under the tape. Of course, intensive use shortens the lifespan of the tape. ”

5. Can you also apply medical taping yourself?

“Yes, it is certainly possible to tape yourself.” Depending on the problem, location and technique, it is sometimes useful to tape yourself (learn with a physiotherapist), which gives you more freedom, especially if you have to be taped regularly. this reduces the number of treatments that you need with a physiotherapist as well.

Nowadays there are even pre-packaged, custom-cut packages for sale at some sports stores. They provide enough tape for self-taping once with an explanation in text and illustration. However, I would advise you to buy a roll of tape and find a certified therapist to teach you how to do it. It guarantees a professional approach and is cost-efficient.

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