The calf muscle consists of three separate muscles and leads into the Achilles tendon. The three muscles are the gastrocnemius, plantaris, and soleus. This muscle group’s main function is plantar flexion of the foot, or the act of planting and pushing off with the foot during walking and running. Majority of calf strains occur in the gastrocnemius part of the muscle and usually happens when jumping or suddenly changing directions.
KT Tape’s approach involves two regular strips of tape that start at the Achilles tendon and run outward both laterally and medially. Rocktape focuses one regular strip of tape down the center of the muscle with a shorter tape that is positioned perpendicular to the first across the largest part of the muscle. Both are effective in stabilizing and supporting the calf muscle.
The plantar fascia is a band of ligament that connects the heel to the toes. Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of this structure and is the most common cause of heel pain or pain in the bottom of the foot. Athletes such as runners and basketball players frequently suffer from this condition but it can occur for a number of structural reasons. People who have high arches, flat feet, or excessive pronation (inward roll of the foot) can all develop plantar fasciitis.
Symptoms include sharp stabbing pain that is worse when trying to stand or walk. Frequently, the pain is worse in the morning with the first few steps. A common home remedy for plantar fasciitis is rolling a frozen plastic bottle of water under the arch of the foot to help decrease the inflammation with ice and stretch the ligament with the rolling motion. Stretching of the toes, calf, and foot (by pulling up on a towel that is wrapped under the foot) are all helpful exercises to mitigate this condition. Taping has shown to be beneficial for plantar fasciitis.
The IT band is a thick strip of fascia that originates on the outside of the hip and travels down the lateral aspect of the leg before attaching just below the knee. It plays a role in hip extension, abduction, and external rotation as well as stabilization of the knee.
IT band syndrome refers to pain in the area caused by an injury due to repetitive use of the lower extremity in activities such as running, cycling, or weight lifting. Inflammation is the most common culprit and can be a result of improper form, muscular imbalances, and structural anomalies in the feet and legs.
Kinesiotaping is a conservative means to help deal with IT band syndrome and can aid in reducing recovery time, allowing the athlete to resume their activities with less discomfort and more stability. KT Tape elects for a star pattern technique that focuses on the origin of the band while Rocktape uses a singular thick strip of tape to run along the IT band.
The sacroiliac (SI) joint is the connection between the sacrum and the left and right ilium (hip bones). It is easily palpated in the lower back and right under the skin of the aptly named “back dimples”.
Dysfunction in the SI joint can result in localized low back and sacral pain as well as discomfort into the legs. Causes include degenerative arthritis, direct trauma, leg length discrepancy, altered gait due to pain in the leg, and increased ligament laxity during pregnancy.
Taping is an effective means to help the SI joints regain normal function and stability. KT Tape shows a method using a normal strip and two shorter ones while Rocktape uses a star pattern to achieve the same goal.
Humans have 24 ribs, or twelve pairs, that help protect vital organs and aid in the contraction and expansion of the thorax when breathing. Of the twelve pairs, the first seven are deemed “true ribs” meaning each one has an individual cartilaginous attachment to the sternum. The last five pairs of ribs are “false ribs” because they either share a connection to the sternum or are floating ribs, meaning they only have a connection to the spine.
Because of the integral role ribs play in everyday functions such as breathing, coughing, and laughing, any injury to them can take several weeks to heal. The area can’t be permanently stabilized as in the case of a broken arm in a cast because the intercostal muscles that are in between the ribs are utilized with the above mentioned actions and are thus always in motion.
Applying kinesiotape can help add support and stability to the ribs without compromising their function. Depending on your comfort level with taping, KT Tape and Rocktape provide different methods. The former uses four regular strips that is easier to handle and apply while the latter involves a fan-like approach to tape the ribs.
A common area of complaint in the general population is pain in the neck and upper back. A phrase frequently heard is “I carry my stress in my shoulders” and there is some truth to this saying. High stress levels or an injury to the area can cause a breakdown of proper posture in the neck and upper back.
Instead of standing or sitting upright, the upper back starts rounding out, aquiring a hyperkyphotic posture while the head and neck travel forward into an anterior head carriage position. If the body is in this alignment for a prolonged period of time, muscles become overstretched and weakened. This can lead to tightness and tenderness in the upper trapezius and cervical paraspinal muscles, which run across the top of the shoulders and along the sides of the neck respectively. This produces a complex called the upper cross syndrome as pictured above.
There are simple stretches and kinesio taping methods that can be used to help correct this detrimental syndrome as well as aid in symptom relief. Doorway and wall stretches are two of the most commonly prescribed routines. Taping is also quite straightforward as demonstrated by KT Tape and Rocktape.
The rotator cuff is a collection of four muscles that help stabilize the shoulder. Other functions of this muscle group include arm abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation. The four muscles involved are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. All have points of origin on the scapula and insert into the humerus (upper arm bone).
Kinesiotaping of the rotator cuff muscles aims to help support and provide additional stability to the four named muscles, allowing the body to perform more efficiently in daily activities or in an athletic environment. It can also aid in the healing process of sprains, strains, or minor tears that do not require surgery.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is classified as an entrapment neuropathy, where a nerve is irritated due to inflammation or decreased space surrounding it. CTS is considered the most common of these disorders and the latest research estimates the prevalence at 3 to 6% of adults.
The carpal tunnel itself is an area in the wrist where the median nerve and other forearm tendons travel through to reach the hand. This area can become compressed or inflamed through trauma, repetitive use, and pregnancy, leading to irritation of the median nerve. Common symptoms include numbness, tingling, pain, and loss of strength in the hand and fingers.
Before surgical options for releasing pressure on the carpal tunnel are considered, a course of conservative measures is usually initiated. This can involve the use of wrist splints when sleeping, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, injections into the affected wrist, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, and yoga. Kinesiotaping also falls under the conservative treatment branch and is performed as follows:
Pain localized in the lateral epicondyle of the elbow is referred to as tennis elbow. Similar to golfer’s elbow outlined last week, this injury is a result of inflammation or repetitive overuse in the extensor tendons of the forearm, which allow for extension of the wrist and fingers.
Our friends at KT Tape and Rocktape provide simple instructions for this condition.
Golfer’s elbow, also know as medial epicondylitis, presents as pain on the inside of the elbow. The tendons that connect the upper arm to the forearm are inflamed from overuse of the arm and wrist. Unlike the name, this injury is not just limited to golfers. Any activity that involves repetitive twisting or flexing of the forearm and wrist can lead to medial epicondylitis.
Kinesiotaping for this injury is easy and effective, as shown in demo videos by KT Tape and Rocktape.