Kinesio Tape – What’s the Sticky?

Kinesio tape is A-MAZ-ING. First off – A-MAZ-ING! Now that my opinion is out there…

When we first brought Superman home from the NICU, his little hands were grasped so tight you couldn’t pry them open. Once we started Occupational Therapy (OT), she started using this stuff called Kinesio Tape. When she first said “I want to tape your son” this was the first image that popped in my head:

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She ASSURED me by the look on my face that it was an actual thing. So a few appointments later she brought her tape and we got started. Our Physical Therapist (PT) also tapes his back and neck for his neuro tendencies to lean to the left as well as his torticolis.

I could give you a long history of how the tape came about, but reader’s digest version: A Japanese guy decided he wanted to create a tape that would act like skin but also pull on the muscles to retrain them or relieve pain. He did. And it rocks.

We use kinesio tape for neuromuscular retraining. You can see it on professional athletes, adults who use it for pain relief especially after accidents or pulled muscles and many other uses. But it is especially helpful for children with Cerebral Palsy to retrain the muscles to move or not move in non typical ways.

These are some examples of ways we tape for retraining.

I assured our PT and OT I would place this disclaimer when they agreed to let me take pictures and post them online so please read and heed:

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ATTEMPT TO TAPE ON YOUR OWN. UNLESS YOU ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF A TRAINED KINESIO PROFESSIONAL OR HAVE RECEIVED TRAINING. YOU NEED TO HAVE A COMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF THE MUSCLE GROUPS AND WHAT THEY DO AND WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. 

Taping our hands pulls out our thumb (the brown tape) and supination of the arm (black tape).

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Taping the neck helps pull the neck back to the right because he leans so much to the left. Torticolis can also cause the child to lock their head into place leaned to the side affected so by taping it to pull with the right resistance can also assist in loosening the muscles to keep the neck from being so tight and locking into place. We have made such a huge stride in this respect, however when he gets mad and doesn’t want to do something he locks his head and you can’t move it at all.

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A large portion of our taping takes place on his back to align his posture, retrain the muscles to go straight and to pull his side back into a more straightened positioning. Since the right side is damaged, his left side is often left ‘wondering what to do’ so his muscles are weaker and he tends to lean to the left much more.

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The finished product!
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Another thing we have started taping is his legs. He still has that newborn ‘splay’ where the legs frogleg out. This is not ideal for weight bearing as it makes the knees very weak. So to supinate his hips and his knees into a more functional position for crawling and weight bearing, Ms. S started taping his legs.

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So there you have it! My little introductory course on how amazing kinesio tape is and examples of a few things that it can do for children with motor function disorders/conditions such as Cerebral Palsy! If you are interested in taping your child, ask your PT or OT if they are trained in Kinesio tape and if they are not ask them if they know someone who is or would be willing to complete the training. In the US companies will offer the course but it is typically paid for as additional training by the therapist themselves and its not a cheap class, so not everyone is trained in it. Again I stress, please don’t try this yourself as tension, muscle groupings and the workings are very important for it to work, and you CAN tape wrong, there IS a science to it – kinesiology – and after a year of vigorously watching and even assisting sometimes, I would NEVER attempt to tape him myself. You can injure someone by taping them wrong.

Any questions or comments make them below and I will try my best to find an answer for you!

Oh and disregard the watermarks! I did it before we moved over to the site but if you share this post and they do visit that site it will redirect! So keep sharing!

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