October is National Physical Therapy Month.
Each week this month we are going to highlight our physical therapists and some of the unique and innovative treatments they are using to help patients meet their goals.
If you watched the Olympics, you may have noticed athletes wearing colorful tape in a variety of patterns. This is called Kinesiotape, and it is not just used for athletes. Kinesiotape is used to treat a variety of injuries, such as sprains, strains, inflammation and neurological impairments. It is also beneficial for soft tissue adhesions (such as scar restrictions) and can be used to retrain muscles for proper posture and mobility.
Kinesiotape is different from normal, rigid tape because the tape can be stretched and allows for movement. “Rigid tape usually prevents movement, and we want our patients to move, however we want them to move properly,” said Nicole Piela, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Bacharach’s Galloway Tilton Fitness campus. “What is really cool about the tape is that it mimics skin, so while patients will notice it a little bit, it does not limit them in everyday activities, which is different from older treatment methods.”
One of the advantages of Kinesiotape is that it can be worn for three to five days, so patients are still receiving therapeutic support in between their actual therapy sessions. The pattern and direction of the tape that the physical therapist chooses allows them to stabilize a specific area and promote it for treatment.
“There are courses that physical therapists can take on Kinesio Taping, and you can even become certified in taping,” said Piela. “If taping a patient is achieving their goals, I will teach them how to do it on their own to promote their independence.”
The tape has become an essential tool in a physical therapist’s tool kit. “I have been getting great feedback from patients, and the tape has a high success rate,” said Piela. “In addition to the tape providing great benefits to the patients, they enjoy the different colors that we can use. They tend to like the conversation piece of why they are taped and how well it is working for them.”