Weird Coloured Tape / A Guide to Kineso Taping - IFC Physiotherapy Singapore

When attending any sort of running event these days it is impossible not to notice the fantastic array of multicoloured tape adorning competitors.

While it can look pretty cool and professional, what is the purpose of this tape and should you be considering it for your next race?

What is it?

Kineso tape was invented back in 1979 by Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist Kenzo Kase. Kase believed his tape would stimulate circulation to injured muscles as, in his opinion, traditional rigid taping methods were too restrictive, and even had potential to exacerbate injuries as a result of reduced circulation under the skin.

So how does it work?

Kineso tape lifts the skin to create a small space between the muscle and dermis layers. This helps to reduce the pressure on swollen or injured muscles, allowing space for effective movement as well as drainage and blood flow

This means it can be great for:

  • Providing pain relief from mild tendonitis
  • Supporting muscles and connective tissue in the final stages of strain/sprain recovery
  • Stimulating circulation and reducing cramps
  • While not scientifically proven, there is some debate as to whether it can help reduce DOMS

On the other hand:

  • This tape does not restrict movement or provide effective support for unstable ligaments/joints due to its elasticity
  • The glue can irritate skin/cause allergic reactions
  • Benefits are decreased if the tape is not properly applied, potentially aggravating injuries

Here at IFC we encourage our clients not to rely on kineso tape (or, for that matter, any other kind of tape, support or brace), but instead view it as a temporary aid when coming back from an injury.

If you are considering using it:

  • Train using the tape, don’t experiment for the first time on race day
  • Think about how you apply it and get a professional to show you how it’s done
  • Tape must ALWAYS be applied directly to skin
  • Colours are for aesthetic purposes only
  • Don’t rely on it, while it can be a great adjunct when coming back from injury, nothing can substitute for a comprehensive rehab program supervised by a physio or sports therapist
  • There are a huge variety of brands out there including KT tape, rock tape etc.

Annie Henderson

Annie trained in the UK and has worked in both London and Singapore. She is a rugby enthusiast and head physio for the Bedok Kings RFC as well as working closely with the Singapore Rugby Union. She, and the therapy team are also affiliated with the British Dragon Boat Team and the crew from Juggernaut Fight Club.