If you watched the Olympics at all this year, there's no doubt you saw all the patterns of colored tape on the athletes. This powerful tool helps athletes (like dancers) stay active through injury and recovery! Here's Allegro's quick start guide for Kinesiology Tape (KT Tape for short), with how to use it and the most common dancer injuries for which it can be used.
This stuff is different than regular old athletic tape. Kinesiology Tape is flexible, so it really moves with your muscles and joints, which doesn’t restrict your range of motion while you dance! It is also SUPER sticky so the adhesive won’t move when you get sweaty in class and it will last all day. This is our staff’s favorite way to manage those pesky overuse injuries, imbalances, and muscle strains. It’s easy to use and can compliment any physical therapy needs.
HOW TO USE
- Clean the area of skin where you'll be applying the tape. Do not use lotions or oils on the skin before applying.
- Tear off one of the precut strips and twist to break the paper backing. Lay down the end with no tension and rub to make sure all the edges are down.
- While holding that piece in place with one hand; use the other to stretch the middle of the tape and apply it to your skin following the path for whichever body part you’re taping, smoothing it down as you go.
- When you get to the end finish it off without any tension and rub gently to generate some heat and make sure everything is stuck down.
Our favorite uses for dancers
- Shin Splints. No joke, shin splints can be very painful. A common overuse injury, shin splints canfeel like sharp pains while you warm up then kind of “go away” and come back when you’ve finished dancing. The pain of shin splints comes from the tendons and muscles on the front of your shins that flex your feet. A lot of times, in dancers, these muscles aren’t as strong because we spend all our time pointing our toes!
- To apply the KT Tape; start with your leg extended, toes gently pointed. Lay one full piece from just below the ankle up the front of your shin passing over the center of the pain.
- Take a second full piece and fold it in half then cut rounded corners so you have 2 half pieces.
- Apply the first one just above the center of your pain on the outside of the first piece and wrapping around your calf.
- Use the second just below the center of your pain wrapping the same way.
- Hamstrings Hamstrings are such a big part of dance, and everyday life! You never realize how big these muscles are or how much we use them until they really hurt. Strains are quite common for dancers and generally take a long time to heal. KT Tape helps relax the muscle and provide some relief - and a gentle reminder not to push it!
- For this one you’re going to need a partner!
- Start with a gentle hamstring stretch, using a table for support.
- Apply the first strip just above the inside of the knee and stretch up the back of the leg.
- Place the second strip just outside the first one, still above the knee, and stretch it up the back of the leg angled slightly towards the hip.
- Osgood Schlatter’s This condition often shows up during growth spurts when the tibia and fibula (the bones in the lower leg) grow quicker that the patella tendon that attaches below the knee. Typically people grow out of this, but while you have it, the area just below the knee is tender and sore. Patellar Tendonitis/"Jumper's Knee" is a similar condition. An overuse injury, Patellar Tendonitis results in pain at the front of the knee, localized at a point at the bottom of the kneecap. Repetitive strain from running or jumping causes inflammation or more likely degeneration of the patella tendon.This taping is quick and easy! It relieves pressure without restricting range of motion in your knee.
- Take one strip of KT Tape and fold it in half then cut rounded corners so you have 2 half pieces. Use each one to go diagonally across the point of pain and make an X.
- Shoulder Stability Muscle imbalances between your left and right or the muscles of your chest and back can aggravate all types of shoulder pain. This taping is a small posture reminder to keep your shoulders in line, help alleviate pain, and you can still move your shoulder and arm in every direction!
- First, find a partner!
- Next, gently pinch your shoulder blades together so you’re standing up nice and straight.
- For this taping you need an imaginary line extending from the edge of your shoulder, through the bottom corner of your shoulder blade, to the edge of your spine.
- Place the end of your first piece next to the spine and stretch it towards the outside edge of your shoulder.
- The second piece goes just above the first piece, still headed toward the shoulder.
- Achilles’ Tendonitis Dancers use their calves to run, jump, and move by pushing off from the floor. It’s no surprise that lots of us have issues with tightness and inflammation! Along with regular icing and stretching a quick KT Taping can help.
- This one starts with a flexed foot- the first piece starts on the bottom of the foot at the arch and wraps around the heel and up the back of the leg.
- The second piece gets folded in half and cut with rounded corners: one half wraps over the point of pain, the other can be used to extend the support higher up the calf.
Don’t forget! You will still need to ice and stretch and care for your body!
**Allegro does not advise using KT Tape in lieu of seeing a medical professional.