with Dr. Lisa M. Schoene
In recent years, kinesiology tape has taken the athletic world by storm. Russian Pointe talked with dance specialist Dr. Lisa M. Schoene to learn more about the hows and whys of this wonderful tool.
Dr. Schoene has used kinesiology tape for years, and she has lectured and written about its effects. In the early 2000s, she took an in-depth course with the company that made the original tape, designed by Dr. Kenzo Kase. Dr. Kase, a practitioner of chiropractic and acupuncture in the U.S and Japan, invented the tape with careful specifications of design and materials, including acrylic glue and the wavelike pattern on the sticky side.
What is it for?
Dr. Schoene explains that properly applied kinesiology tape can help ease pain, prevent muscle fatigue, restore muscle function, maintain alignment, and reduce swelling or bruising. It can help a wide range of problems, including muscle pain throughout the body, tendonitis, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, bunion pain, ankle sprains, and knee and hip problems.
How does it work?
Multiple studies have looked at how and why kinesiology tape works, but many have been inconclusive. Dr. Schoene notes that some studies have been marred by inappropriate application of the tape. Scientific proof has been less important in the tape’s rise to popularity, however, than the compelling results observed by practitioners such as Dr. Schoene.
The tape can have different effects depending on how it is applied. In some applications, its key action involves raising the skin from a painful area, facilitating moisture flow and circulation, soothing superficial nerves, and reducing swelling and bruising. In other applications, it can help correct joint problems by encouraging maintenance of proper alignment.
Not athletic tape
Not everyone understands that kinesiology tape is different in both form and function from athletic tape. In fact, in some ways their functions are opposite. Unlike athletic tape, which inhibits movement so as to rest and support muscles and joints, kinesiology tape can help mobilize, promoting range of motion and muscular function.
Dr. Schoene explains that it won’t hurt a dancer or other athlete to use the tape as if it were athletic tape, but it’s much more effective (and cost effective) to use each kind of tape for the purpose for which it was designed.
How is it applied?
There are several methods for application of kinesiology tape, depending on the goal and part of the body, including “I,” “X,” “Y” and “fan” applications. It’s best to consult with a practitioner to learn what will be best for a particular need. Dr. Schoene points out that inexpert application is unlikely to hurt you, but it’s less likely to help. She provides some general rules for application:
- Cut with very sharp scissors to avoid fraying.
- Round the edges to reduce peeling off skin after application.
- Apply to a body part in a flexed position – for example, a knee or arm.
- Do not apply over hair, which interrupts full adhesion and therapeutic lifting of skin.
- Make sure that skin is fully dry, with no oils, creams, or lotions.
- Do not apply to open sores.
- Peel off the paper backing as you go, smoothing the tape on and rubbing to encourage adhesion.
- Apply at least 30 minutes before exercising because the glue won’t adhere as well if skin is already warmed up.
- Avoid confusing kinesiology tape with athletic tape; use single, targeted strips rather than multiple layers or wraps. With kinesiology tape, “less is more,” Dr. Schoene emphasizes. “Use the least amount you can, because the more strips of tape, the less effective it becomes.”
The tape is designed to be worn for about 3-5 days, Dr. Schoene adds. It can be left on through periods of both exercise and rest, and other supports or therapies (such as an ankle wrap or icing) can be used while the tape is in place.
Videos by Dr. Schoene
Because application of kinesiology tape is so precise – and variable from one usage to another – Dr. Schoene worked with Russian Pointe to create short videos that illustrate applications for a variety of purposes. Watch the Russian Pointe website, social media and YouTube channel for the appearance of these videos, especially for dancers!
Dr. Lisa M. Schoene, DPM, ATC, FACFAS, is a triple board-certified sports-medicine podiatrist with a specialty in dance. She treats dancers at every level, from beginners to professionals to teachers, and is an expert at evaluating pointe readiness, teaching injury prevention, and treating injuries that do occur. In addition to working with clientele including The Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance and many other companies, studios and athletic teams, Dr. Schoene is a prolific writer, teacher and lecturer on sports and dance medicine. Based in the Chicago area, she practices at Gurnee Podiatry & Sports Medicine (www.drschoene.com).