MindBody Physiotherapy & Wellness Clinic

  • 107 Hawthorn Way Unit 6, Leduc, AB T9E 0B1
  • Mon to Fri 9:00am to 6:00pm

Kinesiology Tape: What Is It, and Does It Work?

Kinesiology tape has become a common sight in sports arenas, physical therapy clinics, and even among fitness enthusiasts. Its colorful and often intricate patterns are not just for show; they are believed to have various therapeutic benefits. But what exactly is kinesiology tape, and does it really work? Let’s delve into the science and applications behind this popular tape.

What is Kinesiology Tape?

Kinesiology tape, also known as KT tape, is a stretchy, adhesive fabric tape designed to support and stabilize muscles and joints without restricting movement. Unlike traditional athletic tape, which is typically used to restrict motion and provide rigid support, kinesiology tape is flexible and aims to mimic the skin’s elasticity.

Key Characteristics:

  • Elasticity: Can stretch up to 140% of its original length.
  • Breathable: Made from cotton or synthetic fibers with a breathable adhesive.
  • Water-resistant: Can be worn during physical activities and even in the shower.
  • Long-lasting: Can stay on the skin for several days.

How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?

The application of kinesiology tape is based on a few fundamental principles:

1. Lift the Skin:

When applied correctly, kinesiology tape creates a microscopic lift of the skin away from the underlying tissues. This can help increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage in the taped area, potentially reducing swelling and inflammation.

2. Support Muscles and Joints:

The tape provides support to muscles and joints, which can help reduce strain and fatigue. This is particularly useful during physical activities where muscles are under continuous stress.

3. Improve Proprioception:

Proprioception refers to the body’s ability to sense its position and movements. Kinesiology tape can enhance proprioceptive feedback by stimulating skin receptors, which may help improve coordination and prevent injuries.

4. Pain Relief:

By alleviating pressure on pain receptors and improving circulation, kinesiology tape may help reduce pain. The tape’s supportive properties can also alleviate discomfort from overused or injured muscles.

Applications of Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape is used for a wide range of conditions and injuries. Some common applications include:

1. Sports Injuries:

Athletes often use kinesiology tape to support muscles and joints, prevent injuries, and enhance performance. It is commonly applied to areas like the knees, shoulders, and ankles.

2. Chronic Pain:

Individuals with chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis or tendonitis, may find relief from kinesiology tape’s supportive and pain-relieving properties.

3. Post-Surgical Recovery:

Kinesiology tape can aid in post-surgical recovery by reducing swelling, improving circulation, and providing support to healing tissues.

4. Lymphatic Conditions:

The tape’s ability to improve lymphatic drainage makes it useful for managing conditions like lymphedema.

Does Kinesiology Tape Really Work?

The effectiveness of kinesiology tape is a topic of ongoing debate and research. While many users and practitioners swear by its benefits, scientific evidence is mixed.

Supportive Evidence:

  • Some studies suggest that kinesiology tape can improve pain and range of motion in certain conditions, such as shoulder impingement or knee osteoarthritis.
  • Athletes often report subjective improvements in performance and reduced injury rates when using the tape.

Skeptical Viewpoints:

  • Other studies indicate that the benefits of kinesiology tape may be largely due to a placebo effect, with minimal physiological changes observed.
  • The effectiveness of the tape can vary depending on the condition being treated, the application technique, and individual differences.


Kinesiology tape is a versatile tool that has gained popularity in sports and rehabilitation settings. While its benefits are still under scrutiny, many users report positive outcomes, particularly in terms of pain relief and support during physical activities. As with any therapeutic intervention, it’s important to consider individual needs and consult with a healthcare professional to determine if kinesiology tape is appropriate for your specific condition.

Whether you’re an athlete looking to enhance performance or someone seeking relief from chronic pain, kinesiology tape offers a non-invasive and potentially effective option worth exploring.