We have been qualified to apply Kinesiology Tapes (also known as Elastic Therapeutic Tapes) and Fixed Tapes for a few years now, following additional training at St Mary's University, Twickenham. It rapidly became one of our favourite methods of treatment in our busy Limassol based Sports Massage Clinic because of the success we have had with it.
Why does Kinesiology Taping prove to be so helpful? The reasons are not scientifically proven. It is thought to help with the fascia by lifting the skin and giving the muscle and fascia a little more comfort. It is thought to keep the area a little warmer, to give a little support (depending on the way it is applied) and to help one remember that they have an injury that they are rehabilitating.
How has Kinesiology Tape helped our Clients? We have used these tapes in a number of treatment applications. They have helped Marathon Runners as part of their treatment for Jumper's Knee/Patellar Tendinitis, Achilles Tendinitis and Iliotibial Band Syndrome. These runners had injuries resulting from doing too much, too soon in training and their races were at risk. Following intensive Sports Massage Therapy, they were taped for periods of two weeks. The taping helped prolong the benefits of the treatment and allowed for assistance with their recovery. Runners were taped for their races too. Other Sports disciplines/applications have included:
A Cyprus Ultra mountain race never passes without us taping some of the runners. It is usually helpful to tape the quad muscles to help them relax a little and we have used advanced techniques to tape a mal-tracking patella, which we believe saved one of the runner's races one year. Our running experience and Sports Massage Therapy knowledge has aided our understanding of application methods and has even allowed us to blend elastic and fixed tape for more effective treatment protocols in certain cases.
Personally, I think that there is an additional benefit. I believe that the focus/awareness of the injured area helps to send more blood there. Increased blood flow can help with recovery and can bring healing agents in a more directed manner to the site of injury. It has been proven that focusing on an area of the body sends more blood to it.
How is Kinesiology Tape applied? There are often several ways of applying elastic therapeutic tapes. Main principles include stretching the muscle whilst it is being taped. Tape edges are rounded to help them stay in place. The edges of the tape are not stretched; in order to ensure that they adhere well. The main section of the tape is stretched a certain percentage, depending on the area and the desired outcome of tape application - it is not stretched 100%, but 50-70% is very common. The tightest part of the muscle is often the part that the tape is first attached to. Whilst some knowledge of the path of the muscle in question should be understood and followed, there is not really anything that you can do wrong with elastic therapeutic taping; it simply will not be so effective if it is not positioned correctly.
Kinesio Tex Classic - for great quality and the ultimate staying power:
Rocktape - for quality and performance:
Mueller Kinesiology Tape - value and performance
Levotape - doing a jolly good job!
Which brand? There are the expensive, and believe me you do get what you pay for, and the moderately priced. Go for a mid-price to expensive brand. Look at brands such as Rocktape, Levotape, Kinesio Tex and Mueller. You will love all of these brands. Check them out via the links above and order your preferred tape with ease. Pre-cut tapes are more expensive and whilst being convenient, are limiting in terms of their predetermined length.
If you would like to buy tape in Clinic, we often have some in stock. Taping can be used as part of your Sports Massage treatment if we deem it useful, or can be booked as a treatment separately with a fee payable to cover materials and our Clinic time.
Eva Evangelou IFA & ITEC Diplomas in Sports Massage Therapy, Anatomy & Physiology, Clinical Aromatherapy and Holistic Massage Therapy. Education Adv Diploma, PGCE & BA Hons.
Shin Splints can make your training programme a misery, read on for some tips to help combat this condition.
Debilitating and painful, shin splints tend to come on when we have increased the demands of our training without pre-conditioning our lower leg muscles. Runners often suffer if they increase their mileage on hard ground, or up hills too quickly. Walkers can suffer with sudden increases in distances. Gym users who suddenly perform lots of explosive movements and 'on your toes' type exercises can get this condition. In mild cases it can feel like tenderness across the front of the shin that temporarily eases off with movement. In extreme cases, it can lead to fractures of the surface of the tibia (the load bearing lower leg bone). In fact, we have seen swellings the size of an egg on shins where this has unfortunately been the case. When shin splints present in such an extreme manner, complete rest from activity is required. In milder cases, and remember that catching sports injuries as early as possible is key, there are a few things that you can do to help with a smoother recovery.
As soon as you feel tenderness across the front of the shin, try to rest from the activity that triggered it. A smaller rest at this point could save you from a much longer rest due to the condition deteriorating. Think about changing your sport for a while, or at least altering some aspects of your sport. It is best to avoid high impact activity until symptoms subside. When you have a sports injury type niggle, you have three options; to stop whatever is causing you a problem, to modify the activity, or to try and deal with the symptoms (the latter works best if you catch the injury sooner rather than later).
Taping the Tibialis anterior muscle can be a good option too. Zinc oxide tape can be used to draw the muscle away from the shin bone in a spiral fashion during rest phases. If exercise continues, the elastic therapeutic taping methods are better. Speak to us in Clinic about which method will suit you better.
Stretching the Tibialis anterior muscle is very helpful. Sit on your heels in a kneeling position for 20 seconds. Try this for two weeks at least 5 times per day. There are more advanced versions of this stretch available too.
Sports Massage Therapy is ideal for this condition. Releasing the muscles in the lower leg and using specialist techniques to stretch the Tibialis anterior muscle is very helpful. Try at least three sessions over two weeks and follow the home-care advice carefully for optimal results.
Try some ice therapy in acute phases. Just 10 minutes at a time on a small localised area a few times a day. This is especially useful post activity. Pre sports, apply a warm compress to allow the muscle to soften and relax a little.
When you are symptom free in walking for at least two weeks, you can go ahead and slowly reintroduce some exercise in moderation. Do not do too much, too soon or too fast as your symptoms will return very quickly.
When you are back to very light training and symptoms are symptoms are not present at all, you can add some very basic strengthening exercises. Be aware that rehabilitation exercises are very different to training exercises and they may appear to be easy for you but that is okay. Speak to a Personal Trainer with a rehabilitation qualification for assistance. Try toe raises whilst sitting. Aim for 10 raises per day for two weeks and when this goes well, without symptoms, move on to two sets from week three onwards. Calf raises can also be helpful, do these without weights and be extra careful to build up slowly. Try 5 slow raises on two legs for two weeks. If symptom free move on to single leg raises from week three onward.
As always prevention is better than cure. Be hyper vigilant for small aches and pains, watch out for any tender areas and allow enough recovery time so you have a better chance of keeping repetitive injury free.
Eva Evangelou, BA Hons, PGCE, Adv Diploma, ITEC & IFA Dips, is the UK Qualified Sports Massage Therapist behind Limassol Sports Massage. Being a Qualified Sports Massage Therapist has given her extensive training and experience in Injury Prevention, the Theory of Training and Injury Rehabilitation. She has been a Body Worker since 2004. Eva has run 3 full Marathons including Nicosia, Rome and the Limassol Marathon. She is usually injury free and believes that prevention via education is better than cure. She is the Author behind 'Say No! To Neck and Shoulder Pain' and she is a Qualified Teacher. Learn more about her at www.LimassolSportsMassage.com and contact her via eva@LimassolSportsMassage.com
Sports Massage Therapist, Wellness Advocate, Sports Enthusiast, Teacher, Nutritarian, Blogger, Artist and much more...