Sports medicine is always improving. Not only are medical techniques for catastrophic injuries getting people back on their feet faster, but pain treatments and equipment that reduce the risk of injury in the first place are getting better. Kinesiology tape is certainly one of them. If you’re highly active and you’ve dealt with inflammation, joint pain, or even muscle weakness after surgery, keep reading to see if kinesiology tape can provide the additional layer of support and wellness to make your active sports more fun.
What Active Sports Injuries Should You Look Out For?
Sports and highly active pastimes that put a lot of pressure on your joints aren’t necessarily unhealthy. But regularly taking part in high-impact activities means it’s important to take stock of your own health and wellness. Small aches and pains can develop into debilitating injuries and stress. Inflammation and swelling from the lymphatic fluid can cause greater injuries over time.
While all activity can cause some degree of joint stress and inflammation, active sports are one of the most predominant factors behind athletic injuries. Learn more about if your favorite activities quality and what injuries you should be on the alert for.
What Are Active Sports?
While almost all sports require some degree of physical activity, many sports require more vigorous and high-intensity activity than others. These are classified as “active sports” and the list includes sports such as:
- Football and Rugby
- Rock Climbing
Active sports are classified as (i) occurring frequently, (ii) requiring relatively high intensity, and (iii) having that high-intensity activity for a duration of twenty minutes or more. The above list isn’t all-inclusive. Aside from meeting the requirements to be considered “active sports,” these activities also involve multiple joint groups and types of movement. Not only are you running, but you’re also throwing or swinging. Every sport has a long list of technical throws, movements, and muscle contractions that need to happen precisely in order to achieve both success and reduce the risk of injury.
Common Active Sports Injuries and Pain
Contact sports have a lot of impact-based injuries, but even active sports without contact can result in a lot of injuries. Over-extending your muscles, landing wrong from a jump or a fall, and overusing muscles can all cause injuries. Some of the most common include:
- Tennis and golf elbow
- Shoulder injuries from misalignment and muscle strain
- Hip flexor, groin, and ACL strains
- Plantar fasciitis, or foot strain
Most of these injuries are partially caused by or exacerbate inflammation. That inflammation is what causes a lot of swelling, heat, and residual pain even once you’re off the field.
How Can Kinesiology Tape Help?
The best way to reduce the risk of long-term injuries and chronic pain is to try to mitigate the risk of injury in the first place. If you frequently find yourself with sore knees, inflamed ankles, or a bad case of tennis elbow, it’s time to look for a solution that stops the problem before it starts. For many people suffering from active sports injuries, that solution is kinesiology tape.
What Is Kinesiology Tape?
Similar to a light brace, kinesiology tape lifts and slightly “rearranges” the skin around a joint or sensitive muscle group. This light adjustment helps improve lymphatic fluid circulation. But unlike most braces, kinesiology tape is a thin fabric that applies little to no restrictive compression or pressure. The material is usually cotton with elastic fibers or cores in the threads. These specifically designed threads run in one plane, which helps support an athlete’s movement without restricting it.
How Can It Help Support Joints and Reduce Pain?
The lymphatic system carries away excess lymph fluid from body tissues, but if the area around certain tissue is compressed or overly stressed, that drainage can’t happen. The fluid starts to build up and cause inflammation that results in pain, sensitivity, and even changes in gait or movement that result in injury.
Even injuries themselves lead to inflammation as cells die and proteins begin to build up near the injury. The lymphatic system carries away those proteins and excess or dead waste. If the lymphatic system can’t do its job, the waste will build up, cause more inflammation and increase the cycle.
Kinesiology tape elevates the tissue and fascia around knees, elbows, and other common injury points. That achieves three things that are essential during participation in active sports:
- Carrying away elevated levels of cellular waste. When you’re playing hard, your body is working hard. Just like you have to breathe harder and stay hydrated because your body is using up oxygen and water faster during bursts of high activity, your cells are expelling waste faster. Your lymphatic system has to keep up with demand, and well-placed kinesiology tape ensures the system has can circulate with minimal obstruction or compression.
- Giving your body an advantage during expected microtears and stress. If you love physical fitness, you’ve probably seen a YouTube video or two that explains how microtears in your muscles are what build muscle mass. Even though the muscle you build through active sports might be a long-term good, your body still recognizes it as an immediate injury. Inflammation is the first phase of your body’s response to injuries small and large. Since that inflammation is on some level guaranteed, it’s important to use kinesiology tape as a counterbalancing measure.
- Reducing the risk of impactful inflammation that leads to an injury. Active sports also cause a lot of injuries that people don’t want but still anticipate as a potential risk. While good form, frequent breaks, and appropriate conditioning can go a long way toward minimizing the risk, injuries and inflammation happen. Preventative kinesiology tape application stops inflammation from interfering too much with your muscle movement until the inflammation calms down.
Kinesiology tape is also built to provide light support for recovering muscles. The one-way elasticity helps stabilize muscles and joints but doesn’t impede full use of the muscles in the correct directions. Many applications of kinesiology tape surround muscle groups in a “V’ or “Y” shape to do precisely that.
Whether you are recovering from an injury or looking to up your game on the field, Stabili-t-tape team is here to offer support with all the sports injury recovery and injury prevention supplies you need. For more insights on kinesiology tape or a guide on how to use kinesiology tape for your unique situation, contact us now. Our team is always happy to work with a new athlete or professional looking for sports medicine solutions. Our phone lines and email inboxes are always open.