Have you noticed athletes (especially those participating in the last Summer Olympics) wearing colorful tape on their bodies? They are using the latest generation of elastic athletic tape. Sometimes called Kinesiology Tape, it is an elastic adhesive tape used to support and stabilize muscles and bones during physical activity. Many people–including myself–also find it useful for dealing with the aches and pains of physical activity…or age. Rocktape is one such tape, and a good one at that.
Rock Tape and Athletic Taping
Wikipedia says “the general goals of athletic taping are to restrict the motion of injured joint, compress soft tissues to reduce swelling, support anatomical structure involved in the injury, serve as a splint of to secure a splint, secure dressing or bandages, protect the injured joint from re-injury, and protect the injured part while the injured part is in the healing process…. Taping has many roles, such as to support the ligaments and capsules of unstable joints by limiting excessive or abnormal anatomical movement. Taping also enhances proprioceptive feedback from the limb or joint. Finally taping can support injuries at the muscle-tendon units by compressing and limiting movement and secure protective pads, dressings and splints.” Rocktape takes the athletic kinesiology tape concept a bit further by using a better adhesive, making the tape “stretchier” than others, and providing several sizes of tape for different body areas and types.
However taping cannot be done haphazardly. The area usually has a “foundation” of non-stretched (or lightly stretched) tape, under a stretched “splint.” There is actually training and certifications for professionals who work with athletes. However there are a lot of videos on Youtube that can show you how it is done though. Luckily my wife is an Occupational Therapist and is well-versed in support taping.
Not Just For Sports
Although there isn’t a lot of non-athletic research on these tapes, I have found them useful in reducing the general aches and pains too. For example, I have had trouble with pain in my ankle and by using Rock Tape I was able to support it enough for the pain to ease after a couple days.
A recent addition to the Rock Tape line is Rock Sauce. It’s a Menthol/Capsicum liquid like many other pain-relieving gels and liquids but this one is designed to be applied over the tape to provide a measured warming sensation (though it can be used “straight” too).