Kinesio Taping 101 How and Why it works

athlete tapeKinesio Taping is a state-of-the-art athletic injury tool used to help athletes and runners with injuries. Instead of a brace, Kinesio Tape is used to help runners keep their muscles and joints in alignment.  There are many other similar tape brands available such as Rock Tape or KT Tape.  Kinesiotape is the original but functionally they all work the same.  In our opinion Rock Tape H2O has the best glue and therefore stays on the longest.

This is not just tape… it is a special tape, with magic powers” – Lance Armstrong.

Best of all, Kinesio Tape is waterproof and stays on for days, even for triathletes.

At the San Diego Running and Sports Injury Clinic you can be advised if Kinesio Tape will help your injury and if it is can be taught how to tape it correctly.

See this example below of one way to tape a shoulder.  It is important to understand that how you tape depends on what is wrong and why you have the problem! There is no “one size fits all” tape procedure for any body part or any injury.  If you have an injury and want help and instruction call 858-268-8525 or TEXT 858-322-8581 or email

kinesio taping

Kinesio Taping For Athletic and Running Injuries

Kinesio Taping is an exciting new form of athletic training that can improve performance, enhance circulation, prevent injury and allow a runner to train and compete with an existing injury. Kinesio Taping was developed in Japan and has gained popularity after being used by the Japanese Olympic volleyball team in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team in the Tour De France. Many professional sports teams are also beginning to understand and utilize Kinesio Tape. The Seattle Mariners and New York Jets are two of those progressive teams.

How does Kinesio Taping Work?


Kinesio Tape is a malleable, waterproof athletic tape that can be applied over the muscle and provide support and additional feedback to that muscle and your central nervous system. When applied properly by a certified Kinesio Taping Practioner the results can be astounding. Some conditions successfully treated by Kinesio Tape at the San Diego Running and Sports Injury Clinic are Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, Chondromalacia patella, VMO insufficiency, Achilles tendonitis/tendonosis, Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints and Bunions.

Athletes treated with Kinesio Tape experience the benefits immediately and without restraint. The tape neither limits normal range of motion nor prevents the athlete from performing their usual motions. In addition, after the tape is applied it will stay on the treated region for up to 4-5 days without the athlete losing the benefits. This is different from most other taping methods that can not get wet, which prevents the athlete from showering or even competing in water sports. With Kinesio Tape the athlete can get taped up to 2 days pre-event due to its unique properties.

The Scientific Rationale of Kinesio Taping

Position Paper 

130716-SDRI-kinesiotapingKinesio Taping method is a relatively new physical modality currently being introduced and utilized by various practioners. Kinesiotape was developed by Dr. Kenso Kase in Japan during the mid 1970’s and is now being taught at major universities in addition to being utilized by many professional sports teams. It is difficult for practicing therapists to embrace a new technique, many even labeling it as unscientific and claiming there is little research to support its use. It may be true that there is currently a lack of scientific data in the form of double blind, placebo controlled studies. However, there are many modalities, such as ultrasound that are currently being used by physical therapists, chiropractors etc. that have been proven in the scientific literature to be no better than placebo (1, 2). While the purpose of this article is not to debate the pro’s and con’s of existing accepted modalities or compare their effectiveness vs. Kinesio Taping method, it does illustrate the flaws with the above described logic. Numerous anecdotal reports exist where clinicians and patients have reported almost miraculous results after the application of Kinesiotape. In this article I will explain the scientific rationale as to why Kinesio Taping Method works and support it with existing neuroscience.

Proprioception is generally defined as perception mediated by proprioceptors or proprioceptive tissues (3). Proprioceptor is defined as a sensory nerve terminal found in muscles, tendons, and joint capsules, which give information concerning movements and position of the body to the central nervous system (3). There are numerous proprioceptors that provide our body with mechanoreception. They provide the CNS with information regarding mechanical stimuli. Free dendritic nerve endings are generally thought to be involved in pain transmission (nociception), however, they also respond to pressure and can be found in ligaments, tendons and joint capsules as well as the epidermis. Other pressure receptors found in the epidermis and dermis are the Merkel Discs which respond to light pressure, root hair plexus that respond to hair deflection and surround hair follicles, Meissner’s corpuscles which respond to light pressure, discriminative touch and vibration and Krause’s end bulbs that respond to the same and are found in the dermal papilla of hairless skin. Pacinian corpuscles and Ruffini’s corpuscles can be found in the subcutaneous tissue (fascia), and joint capsules transmitting deep pressure, vibration and stretch. Found within skeletal muscle are muscle spindles which provide feedback concerning the rate and change in length of a muscle and within the tendon there are golgi tendon organs that provide us with information regarding load on the tendon. These receptors provide our central nervous system with all of the above information so that we may have smooth controlled movements occur around joints, provide a reflex mechanism to avoid painful stimuli and allow for motor programming to occur. It is thought among Kinesiotaping practioners that Kinesiotape exerts its effects mostly through affecting the above proprioceptors. To understand how these proprioceptors exert their influence we must review their role in spinal reflexes arcs.

Somatic reflexes mediated by the spinal cord are called spinal reflexes. Many spinal reflexes occur without the involvement of higher brain centers (above the spinal cord). It has been shown that these reflexes work equally as well in decerebrate animals. However, the brain is kept “advised” of these reflexes so that it may facilitate or inhibit them. Normal muscle tone depends on stretch reflexes initiated by muscle spindles, which monitor the change in muscle length. During a basic reflex arc a specific reproducible series of events occurs. A muscle spindle is stimulated and the information travels into the dorsal horn of the spinal cord via a large diameter 1a afferent neuron where it synapses onto an alpha motor neuron and onto an interneuron which then synapses onto another alpha motor neuron. The motor neuron stimulated directly (monosynaptically) travels out the ventral root eventually synapsin