Good Health Physical Therapy and Wellness’ own Sara Avni, has shared a series of blog on the tools she uses with her clients. The last in the series is on taping and the difference between Kinesio® and Athletic tape. Thanks, Sara!
What is the difference between Kinesio® tape and athletic tape?
Cueing vs Stability
Kinesio® tape is stretchy compared to other types of tape such as athletic and Leukotape®. Each are great and beneficial, but for very different purposes.
The stretchy quality of Kinesio® tape provides cues aiding in joint alignment and position, muscle activation for this alignment, and the prevention of poor postural habits. As your body moves into these positions, the tape will stretch, giving you a cue to reduce the tension of the tape and return to the better posture and alignment. The stretch of the tape can also be used to help lift the skin, allowing more blood flow and has been shown to help reduce swelling and help with soft tissue healing.
Other kinds of more traditional tape are used for stabilization. Because of its less stretchy nature, athletic tape will prevent movement into poor positions all together, not allowing you to move out of a certain alignment.
How do you know if Kinesio® tape or athletic tape would be best for you?
The best way to know would be to see a physical therapist to assess what is happening with your posture or joint alignment. They are trained in the different techniques, patterns, and ways to cut and apply the tape to provide the best benefit and proper purpose of the tape.
For a quick answer though, if you are looking for more stability like a temporary brace, then athletic or Leukotape® are best. If you are trying to retrain yourself to use the right muscles and maintain a certain posture or alignment, then Kinesio® tape is best. It is recommended to see a physical therapist to utilize the other more medical applications of Kinesio® tape such as to reduce swelling or increase blood flow to an injured area for healing.