Kinesiotaping a.k.a. Deloading tape, Does it work?

Does this tape stuff really do anything? The proposed mechanism of action for this tape is a reduction of tissue (i.e. fascia, muscle, and/or tendon) stress (load) within a taped area. I’ll admit, I was skeptical, and admittedly still am hesitant to endorse this product. However, when I received my most recent issue of the Journal for the American College of Sports Medicine, one article of this issue, “Deloading tape reduces muscle stress at rest and during contraction” provides proof that deloading tape (KT tape, Rocktape, etc.) may be beneficial for relieving some strain applied to muscles.

The article focused on applying the kinesiotape to the quadriceps (specifically the rectus femoris) while using supersonic shear imaging (SSI) to measure the amount of strain. The results demonstrated that a significant amount of strain was removed from the muscle when it was moderately to highly stretched, and when the muscle was contracted on the taped patients. However, muscles that are shortened showed no benefit from the deloading tape. The article stated that more studies need to be conducted, but I believe this is good preliminary evidence that these taping companies are marketing a beneficial product.

I asked a few friends about their experiences with “Deloading tape” and I was able to get AVP Beach Volleyballer Aurora Davis to give me some feedback. She used the tape for some knee pain that she was experiencing.

When asked whether the tape helped her stabilize or take pressure off of the injury? She replied, “Yes I definitely did. I was having a lot of pain in my knee, but I needed to play in a tournament that was only 2 days away. The tape really stabilized my knee and definitely took pressure off of it, taking a lot of the pain away. I was able to play and not worry about my knee.”

Aurora Davis: "Deloading Tape" allowed her to compete without restrictions

Aurora Davis: “Deloading Tape” allowed her to compete without restrictions

I have seen various physical therapists, chiropractors, alternative medicine practitioners, and massage therapists using this technique. According to the study, the proper way to apply the tape is to make sure the skin over the area is bunched together in an “orange peel” appearance. The tape is meant to reduce the amount of strain in the effected muscle, so proper application is critical. This decrease in strain is used with the intention to facilitate injured muscles (strains or sprains), and help distribute load over a greater surface area. By decreasing the pull on the aforementioned injured muscle, there is lower risk in further injury. In theory, this sounds terrific.

Proper "Orange Peel" Appearance for Deloading Tape

Proper “Orange Peel” Appearance for Deloading Tape

This is only one study that points to some potential benefit of this sort of taping, I am working to find more. People using this type of taping must be sure that they are having the tape applied in a proper technique by a trained professional. The issues that I believe need to be developed further are:
1. Will deloading tape cause increase strain to muscles distal to the injured area and could this cause rupture or other strains?
2. This was a small group (n=13).
3. The group was healthy individuals.

Comment below with your experiences of deloading tape!!

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About rontorrancedo

Sports Medicine Fellow. Co-owner Crossfit Love. Director Love Nutrition. Medical Director CEC. Physician at Ondemand Urgent Care.

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