What is K-Taping? What’s all the Hype?

K Taping what is this? What’s all the hype?

Taping is a common tool used in physiotherapy. It is used as a part of rehabilitation where support and stability are needed for the prevention of injury and protection of injury. We use different kinds of tape depending on the injury, the stage of healing, and the amount of protection required.

Types of Tape:

Rigid Strapping Tape
As the name suggests, this tape is rigid. (ie: it does not stretch). It is usually light brown or beige and it is designed to hold firm, making it ideal for providing support and stability to a joint. 


Common areas of the body where it is used:

  • Management of ligament injuries in the knees, shoulders, ankles and feet
  • Across the front of the knee to help with patella alignment
  • Under the arch of the foot to unload the plantar fascia
  • Elevate the shoulder to unload a sensitive nerve

Cohesive Tape

This tape is stretchy and it contains no glue so it won’t stick to your skin or hair. It only sticks to itself and can be reused. This is the best tape to use for compression to limit bleeding and swelling. 


Common areas of the body where it is used:

  • Management of acute injuries that require compression 
  • Ligament injuries of the wrist, ankle and fingers
  • Tendon injuries of the hand and wrist


Athletic Tape
This tape is white and make from cotton making it sweat resistant. Some versions of this tape are designed to directly adhere to the skin and others use a under wrap between the skin and tape.  This tape has little give and can be torn easily making it easy and quick to use. How fast do you think it would take to tape an entire football team?


Common areas of the body where it is used:

  • Management of acute and chronic ligament sprains of all joints 
  • Management of acute and chronic muscle tears

Kinesiology Tape

This tape has been developed in more recent years and it is the opposite to rigid tape.  We have seen many athletes donning this tape in its many colors and patterns on many areas of their bodies. 

This tape is very stretchy making it pretty useless at providing stability to a joint. So what is all the hype about. Does this funky looking tape really work?



What is the Kinesio Taping Method?
It is a rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process by providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion. 

It can relax or stimulate muscles based on how it’s applied and what tension is used. The taping targets different receptors within the somatosensory system to alleviate pain as well as facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. 

This lifting effect in the skin increases interstitial space and allows for an increase in blood flow in and out of the injured area.  

Kinesiotaping is safe to use on a variety of patient populations from paediatrics to geriatrics, and can be used in all stages of healing: acute, subacute, rehabilitative and chronic.


Who founded the Kinesio Taping Method?
Dr Kenzo Kase – a Chiropractor, certified Acupuncturist and Moxibustion Therapist invented the method in Japan in 1979 after years of clinical research and development. He wanted something for his patients that would help maintain the benefits of his Manual Therapy techniques in between treatments. The method was introduced in the USA in 1995 and in Europe in 1998. The Kinesio Tex Gold Tape was invented and developed in 1979-1981.

What is Kinesio Tex Gold Tape?
It is the original Kinesiology tape. It is hypoallergenic, breathable and 100% latex free. The medical grade adhesive is designed in a wave like pattern to mimic fingerprints which helps in lifting the skin. There are now a variety of Kinesiology type tapes available on the market for purchase (K-tape, SpiderTech tape, RockTape, Dynamic tape, etc.) They come in a variety of colors, but they all have the same properties.



Is there any proof to support Kinesiotaping?
Kinesiotaping has been around for a while and is gaining popularity, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is effective. Some people remain sceptical that it is nothing more than a fad and that the positive effects are nothing more than place

At Avenue Physio we have seen its unique effects first hand with patients reporting decreased pain and improved performance when they are taped.

There are conflicting messages coming from research. While there are some smaller scale studies completed on Kinesiotaping, the research and science is still lacking. Hopefully with its increasing popularity, future larger scale studies will be completed to assess the effectiveness of Kinesiotaping. 


Research studies have shown kinesiology tape to: 

  • It may help correct alignment and tracking of the patella (Barton et al., 2013).
  • Improve power and strength in uninjured muscles (Kalron, 2013)
  • Reduce pain and improve function in painful conditions 
  • Improve pain, range of motion and function in people with shoulder impingement (Thelan, 2008)Support for the reduction of pain in individuals with musculoskeletal injuries, (Montalvo et al., 2014)

Click the photo to watch our K-Tape reel!


Common Conditions that benefit from Kinesiotaping

Quads strain

Hamstring strain

Achilles tendonopathy

Knee pain

Chronic ankle sprain

Shin splints

Who can use K tape?

  • Any age can use from children to the elderly
  • It can be used to aid in the rehabilitation for any pain or dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system
  • The tape and technique is easy to learn for self-application 
  • The glue contains no latex so can be used by those with allergies.

Despite the lacking evidence, Kinesiotaping may still be a treatment option. Ask a Physiotherapist who’s trained to properly apply the taping method about the benefits and whether it would be an appropriate addition to assist in your therapy goals. If there is no noticeable improvement over a reasonable amount of time, then move on to another treatment choice. 

What is the Kinesio Taping Method used for?

  • Reduce pain
  • Drain swelling
  • Improve posture
  • Improve function
  • Facilitate early return to activity or sport
  • Improve sporting performance.

Want to learn more about how taping can help your injury? give us a call (403) 234-9004 or email us info@fifthavephysio.com

Written by Joyce Lang, Physiotherapist @ Avenue Physio

Joyce graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Therapy in 2000. She became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (FCAMPT) after completing her Diploma of Advanced Orthopaedic Manual and Manipulative Therapy certification in 2009. She is certified in Anatomical Acupuncture (CAFCI) through the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute and Gunn Intramuscular Stimulation (CGIMS). Joyce incorporates a variety of treatment techniques including spinal and joint manipulations, core stabilization exercises, soft tissue mobilization, injury-specific exercise prescription, neural tissue mobilization and dry needling to restore optimal function and prevent future recurrence.