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Common reasons your tape is not helping you!

Have you ever been to see your therapist and they applied taping and it felt great but when you went to re-apply it at home, it just didn’t feel right?? We have all been there, don’t worry.

Applying kinesiology tape (tape with some stretch in it), or Rock tape as some of you may know it, is a bit of an art form and there are important things to get right for you to get the best out of your taping. If your tape is not applied properly, you can end up with the following problems:

  • Blistering on the skin

  • Tape peeling away from the ends within the first hour or two

  • Compression rather than ‘lift’ over soft tissue

  • Incorrect tension on the tape – can affect the support you get

  • Increased pain

  • It feels like it's not helping at all!

So how do you get the best out of your tape?? Follow these simple steps to improve your taping experience

1. Make sure your skin is clean and dry – wash with soap and water and dry thoroughly

2. Shave / remove excess hair from the area (this will mostly be for the blokes!)

3. If you can, wipe the area you want to tape with an alcohol wipe or skin prep – your therapist might be able to provide you with some of these at your appointment

4. Cut your tape to the proper length and make sure to round all your edges. Your therapist should give you the backing paper from the tape applied during your session that you can use as a template. Otherwise, a good rule of thumb is to measure the area you are taping and cut the tape shorter as you will apply stretch when you put it on.

5. Make sure you know how to apply the tape properly – i.e. which direction to apply it in and how much tension you are applying. A good idea is to video your therapist putting it on you during your appointment as they will explain this to you as they go.

6. Always start and end with an ‘anchor’ tab. This is a small section on either end that has NO stretch applied to it – this will prevent blistering on your skin.

7. Apply the middle section of your tape with the correct amount of tension and in the correct direction! Getting this wrong can cause pain, irritation, or mean your tape is not going to work for you. Check with your therapist about your tension and direction – most base pieces of tape are applied at about 30-40% tension and overlapping pieces can be up to about 70-80% stretch depending what you are trying to achieve. Each application style will be different so PLEASE check with your therapist what YOU need to do

8. Consider what position your hand / arm / joint is in when you apply the tape as this will affect the feedback you get when you are moving later. Again, check this with your therapist

9. Once tape is applied correctly, rub the tape firmly and quickly either with your flat palm or the backing paper to help activate the adhesive in the tape.

10. The tape can get wet but try not to have it wet all the time as this will reduce the time you get out of it. If your tape is wet after washing hands / showering, pat it dry rather than rubbing it which protects the ends better

11. If the ends are starting to peel up, carefully get your scissors and trim back a new rounded edge to where the tape is still stuck and leave it in place. You can sometimes apply hypafix over the ends to help hold it in place if need be – this is helpful for fingers

Some other Hot tips:

If you tend to react to sticky tapes, you can try applying liquid antacid to your skin and then applying the tape over the top once it is dry E.G liquid Mylanta. This helps to neutralise some of the adhesive irritants without compromising too much on ‘stick’.

If you need to remove your tape because it is getting itchy etc but it is still stuck firmly, rub some olive oil (or similar) into the tape and then get in the shower or under the tap and run warm water over the tape until it is wet. Peel the tape back towards your start anchor point not away from it.

When used properly, kinesiology tape can make a huge difference to your pain, movement, strength, swelling and more. Talk to us if you are interested in learning more about how taping might be able to help you, keeping in mind It will not be appropriate for everyone.

We hope this has been helpful for you and will allow you to enjoy your taping experience and get the most out of it. Feel free to ask us questions and et us know how you go at home!



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