Kinesio Taping for Upper Extremity Injuries

Kinesio taping has been used in conjunction with manual therapy for over thirty years. It was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in the 1970s to compliment manual treatment, facilitate the natural healing process, and ultimately prolong the effects of treatment.

Primary Effects of Kinesio Taping:

  • Pain Mitigation—Following the premise of the gate control theory, taping provides localized sensory input that can interfere with pain signals to decrease overall perception of pain.

  • Decompression –Taping has been shown to lift the skin from the underlying tissues, which can increase circulation to the taped area to decrease swelling and improve performance and recovery (see Figure 1). Decompression also assists to alleviate pressure on the free nerve endings responsible for pain perception, thereby reducing pain signals (see Figure 2).

  • Sensory Input—Taping provides input to the sensory nerves under the skin, including receptors responsible for proprioception. Increased proprioceptive input can improve the body’s awareness of itself as it moves through space.

  • Scar Management—Tape strategically placed so that it pulls tissue in the direction of the motion restriction which assists to create a micro massage and shear effect to the scar tissue. This encourages motion and promotes alignment of the tissue with adjacent tissue (see Figure 3).

Taping has multiple and overlapping therapeutic benefits!

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Figure 1

Decompression taping for rotator cuff tendonitis.

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Figure 2

De Quervain’s decompression taping for pain and swelling.

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Figure 3

Scar modeling achieved by placing silicone scar pad under 1st tape strip.

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Figure 3.1

Scar management taping for extensor tendon laceration.