Orthopedic Associates' Blog


Orthopedic Associates' Blog

Why are athletes wearing tape on their bodies during the Summer Olympics?
Why are athletes wearing tape on their bodies during the Summer Olympics?

By: Dr. Bell

We love watching our favorite athletes don the beloved red, white, and blue in Rio. What may stand out to their appearance is that some athletes seem to be wearing some form of tape on their shoulders, backs, and legs. Strips of blue, black, yellow, and really any other color seem to be stretched across all visible parts of different athletes’ bodies. Why are Olympic athletes wearing tape, and how is that tape supposed to help?

Of course, we should assume that there is some competitive explanation as to why certain athletes are wearing tape. So, what type of tape is it? It’s called kinesiology tape, or kinesio tape or KT as it’s often called, and it’s a cloth-based athletic tape that can be applied to sore or underperforming muscles to help alleviate pain and support better muscle function. The tape has a composition very similar to human muscles and responds to movement in like manner.

Some athletes may have whole patterns, zigzags, and spider webs of the tape on their body, which may you wonder if there’s a reason behind some of the stranger-looking tape patterns. Yes, there is a method to the tape-pattern madness. The tape is applied in strategic ways so the adhesive can better exert force on a specific direction or movement of a muscle group.

Now, let’s remember: we’re talking about tape, not orthopedic rehab or physical therapy. Many personal trainers and physical therapists are still wary of claiming whether kinesio tape is as effective as many others claim. What may be true is that enough athletes believe in the power of kinesio tape that it may contain more of a placebo effect than actual healing properties.

What is undeniable is that the U.S.A. is poised to have a tremendous showing in this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio. If you find yourself wondering if kinesio tape may help your aching shoulder, you may be right. Before you start taping spider webs all over your shoulder, your first step should be connecting with one of our board-certified physicians at Orthopedic Associates. We can help you determine what treatment may be most beneficial for your long-term health and living as pain-free as possible.

Click here to schedule your next appointment at Orthopedic Associates and go U.S.A.!

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