So, we’ve all seen the hundreds of Olympic athletes, professional sports players, and even high school athletes with bright colored fabric taped to their muscles, joints, arms, and legs. The tape freely bends and stretches with their movements and takes on the aesthetic of an integral uniform component designed to accentuate the muscles of the athlete. We’ve all seen it, but what is it, what does it do, and does it work?
K-tape, or “kinesiology” tape, is a type of fabric that can be taped to the body, mainly joints, muscles, and other problem areas, to provide relief from pain. Although K-tape has been around since the early 1980’s, it really began to gain traction in the sports market over 20 years later during the 2008 Olympics. Since then, Olympians, professional athletes, and the average Joe or Jane swear by K-tape as their “go-to” solution for joint and muscle pain.
In 1984, Kinesio was founded. This is the company that would work to market K-tape to the masses. While the tape had already been in circulation for over 20 years, it didn’t really gain any market attention until Kinesio decided to donate over 50,000 rolls of their product to the 58 countries participating in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Fairly quickly, participating Olympians began using the tape during their scheduled events. For instance, US Gold Medal recipient, Kerri Walsh, wore K-tape on her right shoulder. Speculation as to why eventually landed on the fact that Walsh was still recovering from rotator-cuff surgery during her gold medal match. From there, K-tape took off as doctors, physical therapists, sports-medicine specialists, and orthopedics began to recommend the tape for patients recovering from joint surgery, and those experiencing muscle aches and joint pain.
Does It Work?
If statistics, sales, and market share are any indication (and they are), K-tape has been widely accepted throughout the sports medicine industry, as well as the orthopedic industry as a viable solution for joint pain and muscle aches. In fact, by 2021, the market is expected to hit $270 million, a staggering increase from $150 million in 2016. And even better, you no longer require a prescription from a doctor, orthopedic, or sports medicine specialist; you can simply purchase a roll yourself over the counter or online.
Now, why do professional athletes and sports enthusiasts love the product? James Harden of the Houston Rockets can often be seen taping himself up prior to a game even if he’s not experiencing pain; when speaking to NBC, Harden claims that K-tape helps to get the blood flowing before a game, so that he doesn’t feel the effects or a sore shoulder or knee.
While results vary from person to person, there has been much widespread support of products like K-tape and similar brands throughout the last decade or so that supports its claim as a pain reliever for aches, pains, and muscle/joint soreness. Try some for yourself and let us know what you think! Be sure to comment down below!