Kinesiology Tape — Used by Athletes Recovering from Injury
Attending Charleston Southern University in South Carolina, Andrew Khoury is a longtime soccer athlete who pursues studies in kinesiology. Andrew Khoury’s major in South Carolina is focused on biomechanics, or the way in which the body moves.
A recent article in Quartzy spotlighted brightly colored kinesiology tape, which is often applied to athletes in high profile competition. This tradition comes from sumo wrestling of the late 1970s, with a chiropractor inventing a stretchy adhesive material that was similar to human skin and water-resistant, flexible, and latex-free. The purpose of the tape was twofold: to ease pain without surgery or medication and to support joints and muscles without blocking movement. It was seen as helping preserve a full range of motion during the recovery process.
With Kinesio tape available since the late 1980s, the product took off during the 2008 Olympics when it was memorably worn by U.S. volleyball star Kerri Walsh, who was coming off rotator-cuff surgery. With numerous athletes, from NBA player James Harden to Olympic cyclist Dotsie Bausch, swearing by kinesiology tape, the actual mechanics by which it eases pain are still not fully known.
One theory is that it encourages proper posture, which helps build muscles. Another is that it improves sensory feedback in ways that provide more movement control. While some claim that the tape’s benefits are fictitious, with the placebo effect coming into play, it continues to be a ubiquitous fixture among top athletes.