Kinesio taping influences the mechanical behaviour of the skin of the low back: A possible pathway for functionally relevant effects
By Journal of Biomechanics | 13 December 2017
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Despite claims of functional benefits of kinesio tape application, little mechanistic evidence exists to support physiological pathways to achieve these benefits. As kinesio tape is adhered directly to the skin, it can be supposed that any pathway needs to first achieve effects at this level. To address this, two layers of the skin, the combined epidermis and dermis, as well as the hypodermis were studied. Specifically, -kinematic measures of skin surface stretch and retraction, as well as ultrasound measures of skin thickness, were made along all edges of kinesio tape applied over the low back. Results demonstrated that the more superficial skin layer (combined epidermis and dermis), but not the deeper hypodermis, was significantly stretched (p = .0001) and thinner (p = .0016) at either end of the tape, and significantly retracted (p < .0001) and thicker (p = .0001) along the lateral edges of the tape. These results were partly dependent upon spine posture; skin retraction along the tape edges was only apparent in neutral and flexed (but not extended) spine postures, while skin thinning at the tape ends was only apparent in neutral and extended (but not flexed) spine postures. Hypodermal thickness was not affected by kinesio tape application at any location or in any posture. In summary, measured deformations at the skin surface and within the epidermal and dermal regions provide plausible pathways through which kinesio tape could achieve its claimed benefits.

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