Kinesiology is the science or study of human muscular movement. Kinesiology tape, sometimes referred to as kinesio tape, is aptly named since it is applied to the muscles. The brand name is KT Tape. The tape is generally a composite of adhesive, cotton and spandex. This composition facilitates the capacity for stretching and supporting joints, enabling unrestricted motion.

Benefits reported, though not all evidence-based, are reduction in swelling and pain, elevation of muscle function, increase in strength and improvement in range of motion. Although some of this may be anecdotal evidence, Runner’s World reports that the tape is widely popular among sports trainers, physical therapists and professional athletes who use it for shin splints, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon pain, general muscle pain and swelling.

Medicare Benefits for Kinesio Tape

Kinesio tape is a considered a supply, and Medicare benefits are not typically granted for supplies unless they are deemed medically necessary. In that case, Medicare Part B does cover some supplies under durable medical equipment benefit. DME is for medical equipment or supplies your doctor deems medically necessary and prescribes for use at home. There are specific criteria that applies to durable medical equipment coverage. Medicare Part B will cover visits to your doctor to evaluate your needs if you are experiencing muscle-related discomfort or pain. Your healthcare practitioner can make a diagnosis and discuss using kinesio tape if need be to reduce pain, improve movement or perform a therapeutic function.

Taping vs. Strapping

There is a practice termed strapping, and some people mistakenly use the term interchangeably with taping. The purpose of strapping is to immobilize an area, most often used for dislocations, fractures, sprains and tendinitis. Adhesive plaster is laid in overlapping strips around the affected body part. On the other hand, kinesio taping, otherwise known as elastic therapeutic taping, is designed to increase circulation without limiting movement. It is supposed to support and stabilize muscles and joints while allowing full range of motion.

Tips for Self-application

The tape may be applied by a doctor or physical therapist. A video accessible on the website offers tips for those who apply it on their own. Clean your skin, and check that it is dry and free from residue left by lotions, oils or skin treatments. Clean with rubbing alcohol to be sure. Before applying the tape to a joint, such as a knee or elbow, fully bend the area so that the tape does not come off when the joint is moved. To ensure the tape sticks, avoid stretching it when placing it on the skin. Steadily rubbing the product and making sure the edges are down should help the adhesive set. If preparing the tape as a prelude to a sport or rigorous activity, be sure to complete the application about 30 minutes in advance. The makers of KT Tape caution people undergoing cancer treatment against using the product because there is a risk it will interfere with the management of the disease.

If you are not comfortable putting the tape on yourself, have a medical professional do it for you to avoid doing more harm than good.

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