Elastic therapeutic tape
|Some or all of this article's listed sources may not be reliable. (April 2013)|
Elastic therapeutic tape is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive that is used in an attempt to treat athletic injuries and a variety of other physical disorders.
Therapeutic taping has been found not to be helpful in treating sports injuries.
The product is a type of thin, elastic cotton tape that is claimed to be able to stretch up to 140% of its original length. As a result, if the tape is applied to a patient on a stretch greater than its normal length, it will "recoil" after being applied and therefore create a pulling force on the skin that it is being applied to. This elastic property allows much greater range of motion compared to traditional white athletic tape and can also be left on for long periods of time before reapplication.
Designed to mimic human skin, with roughly the same thickness and imitates epidermis’ inherent elastic properties; the tape can be stretched 30-40% of its resting longitudinal length. It is a latex free material with acrylic adhesive, which is heat activated. The cotton fibers allow for evaporation and quicker drying leading to longer wear time, up to 4 days. How the tape is claimed to affect the body is dependent on its usage throughout the body and how it is applied: the direction of pull, the shape, and the location, all play a role in its hypothetical function.
There are several theoretical benefits claimed for the tape. One of those is correcting the alignment of weak muscles as well as facilitating joint motion as a result of the tape's recoiling qualities. Additionally, the tape is claimed to lift the skin, increasing the space below it, and increasing blood flow and circulation of lymphatic fluids (swelling). This increase in the interstitial space is said to lead to less pressure on the body's nociceptors, which detect pain, and to stimulate mechanoreceptors, to improve overall joint proprioception.
A 2012 meta analysis found that the efficacy of elastic therapeutic tape in pain relief was trivial given that no studies found clinically important results. The tape "may have a small beneficial role in improving strength, range of motion in certain injured cohorts and force sense error compared with other elastic tapes, but further studies are needed to confirm these findings". The same article concluded: "KT had some substantial effects on muscle activity, but it was unclear whether these changes were beneficial or harmful. In conclusion, there was little quality evidence to support the use of KT over other types of elastic taping in the management or prevention of sports injuries"
A more recent 2014 meta analysis coincides with earlier research. By looking at methodological quality of studies along with overall population effect, several conclusions were drawn. First was that studies deemed of lower methodological quality are more likely to report beneficial effects of elastic therapeutic taping. Second was that applying elastic therapeutic tape, "to facilitate muscular contraction has no or only negligible effects on muscle strength". 
The tape is applied with the affected muscle in a stretched position, taping from the origin of the muscle to the insertion point. Once applied, it is rubbed to activate the pressure-sensitive adhesive.[unreliable medical source?]
Application is in three general shapes or techniques. An "I" shape is used for small or linear places, for example an I-shaped piece of tape will be applied to the teres minor or rhomboid minor. A "Y" shape is used for larger muscles, like the deltoid. The "X" shape is used for large and long muscles, such as the biceps femoris.
- Bicici S, Karatas N, Baltaci G (April 2012). "Effect of athletic taping and kinesiotaping® on measurements of functional performance in basketball players with chronic inversion ankle sprains". Int J Sports Phys Ther 7 (2): 154–66. PMC 3325641. PMID 22530190.
- [unreliable medical source?] Thelen MD, Dauber JA, Stoneman PD (July 2008). "The clinical efficacy of kinesio tape for shoulder pain: a randomized, double-blinded, clinical trial". J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 38 (7): 389–95. doi:10.2519/jospt.2008.2791. PMID 18591761.
- [unreliable medical source?] Bassett K, Lingman S, Ellis R (2010). "The use and treatment efficacy of kinaesthetic taping for musculoskeletal conditions: A systematic review". New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy.
- Williams S, Whatman C, Hume PA, Sheerin K (2012). "Kinesio taping in treatment and prevention of sports injuries: a meta-analysis of the evidence for its effectiveness". Sports Med 42 (2): 153–64. doi:10.2165/11594960-000000000-00000. PMID 22124445.
- Csapo R, Alegre L (2014). "Effects of Kinesio taping on skeletal muscle strength-A meta-analysis of current evidence". Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 1053: 1–7. WP:MEDRS
- "Kinesio Taping: Experts Question Benefits". Retrieved September 27, 2012.
- [unreliable medical source?] Kahanov, EdD, ATC, Leamor. "Kinesio Taping: An Overview of Use With Athletes, Part II". Alternative & Complementary Concepts. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- "Olympics-Scientists sceptical as athletes get all taped up". Reuters. July 31, 2012.
- "Taping America’s athletes". ABQ Journal. 25 July 2012.
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