A Look at Kinesio® Taping
By: Munira Adenwalla, Pediatric Occupational Therapist / Certified Kinesio® Taping Practitioner
David Beckham, Serena Williams and Lance Armstrong all use Kinesio® Tape and so do the kids I treat.
Kinesio Tape is an elastic, cotton, water-resistant tape developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in 1973. It was first used in Japan on athletes to enhance their sports performance and for faster recovery from injuries.
I have used Kinesio® Taping with babies and young children for the past eight years after taking the course. I’m not affiliated with the Kinesio Taping Association, however I find it to be a valuable adjunct to treatment for infants to older children.
Kinesio tape is applied over and around specific muscles to provide joint support and muscle re-education. The tape can be stretched 40-60% gently ‘pulling’ on the skin and causing the muscles underneath to strengthen. It comes in beige, blue, pink and black and varies in width from one to three inches.
The thickness and weight of the tape is designed to be similar to that of skin so it is comfortable and non-invasive.
Benefits of Kinesio Taping for Children:
- improve body and muscle alignment for motor skills development
- support and strengthen weak muscles, reducing fatigue
- relax tight muscles and increase range of motion
- stabilize joints proximally for increased distal control
- provide sensory input for body awareness ?
- improve gross motor, fine motor, oral-motor and self-help skills
Who can Benefit?
As therapists, we tailor treatments based on a child’s unique strengths, needs and goals rather than their diagnosis.
Generally, Kinesio taping helps babies and children with neuromuscular, orthopaedic, developmental delays or medical conditions such as:
- Delays in gross motor, fine motor, self-help and sensory processing skills
- Down’s Syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy, Hemiplegia, Brain Injury
- Hypotonia (low muscle tone), Hypermobility syndrome, joint instability
- Brachial Plexus Injury / Erb’s Palsy
- Various physical disabilities and neurological impairments
- Developmental Coordination Disorder / Dyspraxia
- Sensory Processing Disorder
- ………..and more
Therapist will enquire about child’s background and medical history, previous therapies and developmental milestones. They should then further assess:
- body alignment and movement patterns in different positions such as lying on back or stomach, sitting and standing
- range of motion limitations, muscle imbalances, joint stability, sensory processing and its effect on gross motor, fine motor and self-help skills
- primary concerns of parent, child and teacher to prioritize goals
First, a test patch is applied to monitor the skin’s response and integrity.
Prior to taping, deep tissue massage, shoulder mobilizations or stretches may be used to relax muscles and prepare the body. Taping can be used alongside splinting and other treatment techniques.
Next, the therapist determines which muscle groups or joints to strengthen to attain desired skills and developmental milestones. No more than three areas should be taped at once.
The child’s alignment and movement patterns are frequently re-assessed to determine which techniques are most beneficial. As they progress, taping applications change to support new skills and goals.
Following tape application, the child engages in functional activities to support their therapeutic goals. For example, if tape has been applied to strengthen wrist muscles, they may do activities like pushing up on hands from stomach, upper extremity weightbearing or colouring on an upright easel.
Kinesio tape is worn continually for 3-5 days and left off for 1-2 days to allow the skin to “breathe.” The tape is water resistant so the child can bathe or swim. It’s easiest to remove the tape during bath time or after being soaked in oil or lotion. Parents are instructed in tape removal and application as appropriate.
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