I went to a course this weekend to learn all about Kinesio Taping. You may have seen the tape on Olympic athletes as the pink and black stuff wrapped in strange patterns on them. I remember first seeing it on Kerri Walsh playing beach volleyball and wondering what in the world that was.
Basically, Kinesio Tape can be used to facilitate muscle contractions, inhibit overworking muscles, facilitate lymphatic flow to decrease swelling, and to break up scar tissue. It has several other uses too, but those are the ones I am most interested in. You are probably wondering how one piece of tape can do all that. So was I. The tape is elastic and its use is dictated by how much stretch you put on it and how you lay it.
I am sharing all this with you because it so effective for anyone with movement restrictions like Ruthie and Jack. Here is what I mean:
For Ruthie- I taped her right elbow in a bent position from origin to insertion. I am keeping the tape on for 6 weeks (I have to reapply it) to assess its effectiveness at facilitating true strength changes. So far it has changed her carrying angle to a slightly bent position and helped her to actively bend against gravity. Recently, Ruthie started bending her left arm against gravity and would use it to help her right. I am hoping this will help her actively bend her right. You can see some pictures below of her with the tape and performing therapy.
For Jack- Jack is actually much more complicated and will require more extensive taping. On Monday I taped Jack's feet into dorsiflexion and eversion. This is different from a brace that would do the same because it is not fixed and is actually facilitating the muscles instead of replacing them. Jack's teacher contacted me late that morning and said Jack was complaining that his legs hurt. Because Jack's feet were hitting the ground correctly he was not able to go into his compensatory patterns and was actually having to use his leg muscles for stabilization and they were getting tired. How great is that! Today I taped to inhibit his hamstrings and provide a shear on his fascia on the back of his legs. My expectation is that we will have increased flexibility in a few days and hopefully that will carry over into his walking.
I am really encouraged about what Kinesio Taping can do. I have already seen good results with my patients and coworkers. If you or your child has a movement restriction, I would encourage you to talk to your PT or OT about Kinesio Taping. It is so easy (and cheap) that most people could do it themselves at home. Let me know if you have questions. Also I am really new at this and am seeing good results. I have to think that will all improve as my skills improve.