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Carol Eustice

Why Are Olympic Athletes Wearing Kinesiology Tape?

By August 4, 2012

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If you've been watching the 2012 Summer Olympics like I have, you also spotted it. I saw it on the lower back of some of the divers. Then, I saw it on the thighs or shoulders of some of the volleyballers. I took more notice and saw it in various colors and configurations. I wondered what it was and why so many were wearing it.

According to Forbes.com, it's a brand of kinesiology tape, known as SpiderTech tape. It is applied to the body wherever you hurt. Well, that just got the attention of everyone in the world with arthritis, right? I mean, if it really works, you'd probably agree to be wrapped like a mummy with SpiderTech tape. I know I would.

I was beyond curious, wanting to know what's in or on this tape that relieves aches and pains. I did a little surfing and landed on the Spidertech.com website. The information I came across explained that SpiderTech tape is non-medicated. The tape is made of 100% cotton with a 100% poly-acrylic adhesive. The pre-cut kinesiology tape applications are called spiders. According to Spidertech.com. "the tape has a very specific elasticity built into the weave pattern of the cotton fabric, which mimics the elasticity and thickness of human skin, allowing it to integrate, support and stabilize without adversely affecting healthy ranges of motion."

It is designed for use with strenuous exercise -- and it's marketed for joint instability, as well as muscle strains and sprains. So is the tape a fad or for real? I leave that for you to decide. Perhaps the definition of kinesiology is a good starting point. In short, it's the study of movement. The American Kinesiology Association defines kinesiology as "an academic discipline which involves the study of physical activity and its impact on health, society, and quality of life." (Note: before the pre-cut version was developed, rolled kinesiology tape has existed for decades).

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Photo by Marcel Mooij (iStockphoto)

August 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm
(1) Ian Liuzzi-Fedun says:

Thanks for the lack of information regarding what the different colors mean.

August 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm
(2) arthritis says:
August 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm
(3) Katherine says:

Hi Carol,
As I was watching the Olympic events, I noticed the tape too. I knew what it was because I have used it in the past for golfer’s elbow pain.

I think it helped me. It sure feels good, I just wish it could stay on longer.


August 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm
(4) beth says:

The colors mean nothing. They just make it in different colors. My newborn daughter has to wear it on her arm and shoulder due to getting stuck during delivery and her muscles in her neck being pulled. My 6yr old has it on his back because he has scoliosis. I’ve seen a big difference since they’ve had it on.

August 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm
(5) Joey Teixeira PTA says:

So reading your blog, I can’t help but explain that Kinesio Tex tape is different from Spider tape. Both allow for full ROM and do come in pre-cut tapes. But one difference is, K-Tex tape come in four different colors, Red, Blue, Beige, and Black. Although there is no difference in strengths in colors, the first two colors Red and Blue are meant to achieve color therapy. Red for heat and Blue for a cooling affect.

Also, Kinesio Tex Tape come in rolls as well and does take a trained practitioner to apply for achieve different effects. Depending on usage in acute, sub-acute and chronic conditions. Very cool stuff!

Refer to there web-site for any clarification.

August 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm
(6) Alli says:

gosh Ian, did you have to be so polite in your request for further information? considering this information is given freely yet takes someone’s precious time, I do think less sarcasm is in order.

To Carol, thanks so much for this information. My physio has used tape on my at times when my upper back and neck are in spasm and it seems to almost lift the skin away from the muscles allowing the muscles to unknot – if that makes any sense. I have never thought of using it elsewhere, but I am going to try it on some of my fibro tender points and see if it helps!

Many thanks for all the interesting and useful information you share with us.

August 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm
(7) anastasia says:

Carol, you are always helpful and I enjoy the info….as far as Ian—there is always one who tries to bring everyone down. With these diseases we suffer from, we don’t need negativity, so I dismiss the attitudes and diatribes they ooze. Keep up the good work Carol—you are appreciated!

August 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm
(8) Me says:

ThaNk you! We were wondering!!!! Now we see it on NFL players in the preseason game and felt in the dark! Now we’re not!

August 10, 2012 at 11:47 am
(9) Wendy Bumgardner says:

I work with PT’s and KT’s and they have been big on this tape for the past 10 years or so. I had personal experience with it when my knee arthritis got bad this winter. My PT applied the tape and showed me how to do it. I wore it for several weeks and my pain relief was immediate.

With the tape, I was able to do the exercises I needed to strengthen my hips and thighs to do the work they were supposed to be doing. I was able to quit the tape and now have been pain-free for months.

At the same time, I was dieting and with the combo of taping, doing the needed exercises, and more activity, I am back to walking half marathons and have lost 36 pounds.

August 12, 2012 at 1:19 am
(10) dessy pius says:

thanks carol,for taking your time to enlighten us.God bless you.amen

August 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm
(11) jean supplee says:

i ordered the tape,now i cant seem to find out how to use,can you help with that? i have arthritis,fibromyalgia,plus stenois of the spine so feel the tape would help me. any advice thanks

September 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm
(12) lorine miller says:

Thanks Carol, i am a massage therapist in Grand Bahama.The Bahamas. an wanted to about this tape as well. Thanks for the info

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