What is KT Tape?
Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape, or KT Tape, is a special kind of tape used for pain relief and support and is used for many injuries all over the body. Its easy application and strong adhesive supposedly allow for all day relief. When put on soft tissue, it is said to remove pressure in the area, thus preventing further discomfort and pain.
When did KT Tape become popular?
KT Tape became popular following the 2008 Olympics where many athletes were seen sporting colorful KT Tape. When Kerri Walsh Jennings from the US Women’s Volleyball team and other teammates were seen wearing it, there was a spike in interest as to what exactly the tape was and what its purpose was. Announcers were unsure of what type of tape it was and drew attention to the athlete who had recently had rotator cuff surgery. After further investigation, people learned that Jennings’ doctor told her to wear the tape so she could return to playing sooner without risk of reinjuring her shoulder.
Initially KT Tape was only used in the clinical setting, but the surge in interest during the 2008 Olympics pushed the company to investigate in non-clinical use of KT Tape. Within four months, the tape was approved for over the counter use. Sales increased rapidly. KT Tape began to sponsor Kerri Walsh Jennings. More bold colors were released. Common pharmacies began selling KT Tape, many with packaging that displayed pictures of Jennings sporting the tape.
Who wears it?
All types of athletes wear KT Tape. Professional athletes wear it as well as the average everyday athlete. With its strong adhesion and durability, users can wear it for several days at a time without changing it. KT Tape Pro is water resistant, which allows swimmers to wear it while in the water.
Does it work?
There are no studies that prove KT Tape has a significant impact on pain relief and healing. However, there are a lot of studies that highlight KT Tape’s ability to increase proprioception, which is the body’s awareness of its joints and their movements. Increasing tactile awareness by placing tape on the area of the injury likely increases the mind’s focus on that particular area. This draws attention to the area and subconsciously the mind and body become more aware of correcting poor positioning or movement. Ultimately, KT Tape creates a placebo effect for reducing pain. While it may seem like the tape is helping, it is not significantly helping address soreness, tenderness, and pain in the long term.