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Kinesio Taping for the Upper Extremity

By: Breanne Rowland, OTS Touro University Nevada School of Occupational Therapy

Major Functions and Effects

Normalize muscle function Improve lymphatic and blood flow Reduce Pain Correct Joint Malalignment and improve proprioception


Purpose: To examine the clinical outcomes for patients with shoulder disorders who were treated with a comprehensive physical therapy program that included Kinesio Taping techniques Sample: N=5 (M), age 41-55 years Diagnoses: 2 shoulder pain, 1 RCT, 1 impingement, 1 s/p acromioplasty Results: All patients demonstrated clinically important improvements in function . Pain levels varied over time, although a general trend for reduced pain was observed. Conclusion: Kinesio Tape should be considered as an optional clinical adjunct in the treatment of shoulder pain as

Strapping the hemiplegic shoulder prevents development of pain during rehabilitation: a randomized controlled trial
Objective: To determine whether Tapping the 'at risk shoulder prevented or delayed development of hemiplegic shoulder pain compared to standard care. Setting: Three inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, Melbourne, Australia. Sample: N= 33 'at risk' of developing hemiplegic shoulder pain .Patients at risk were considered to be those with low or no muscle function around the shoulder Interventions: Standard care for control group. Therapeutic strapping or placebo strapping with tape. All strapping was maintained over four weeks.

Methods of Taping
I Shape Y Shape Muscle taping (acute injuries), correctional taping, indurated tissue, and scar management Muscle taping, correctional taping, indurated taping and scar taping

X Shape Fan Shape Web Shape Donut Shape

Muscle taping, and correctional taping Edema or swelling, and acute pain Correctional taping, and indurated taping Space correction

Principles of Application
Anchor: Portion of the tape that has no tension

applied and is typically the starting end. Tail: Portion of the tape that tension is applied to the tape. This is considered the working part of the tape.
1. Stretch away from the anchor and the tail will recoil

back to the anchor 2. To encourage shortening of muscle to facilitate, tape origin to insertion (proximal to distal) (weak muscle) 3. To encourage elongation of the muscle to inhibit, tape insertion to origin (distal to proximal) (spastic muscle) 4. Start the anchor in the direction you want the lymphatics to flow to. This directions the lymphatics to flow towards the anchor

Edema/ Swelling

UE Lymphatic Pathways
Forearm: Anterior (central) lymphatic trunk

transports lymph to the cubital nodes

The medial (ulnar) and lateral (radial) lymphatic trunks

combine to form the medial (basilic) in the upper arm trunks to transport lymph to the axilla nodes A portion of the radial joins the lateral (cephalic or deltoid) upper arm lymphatic trunks to transport lymph to the supra and subclavicular nodes

UE Lymphatic Pathways

Chronic Swelling of the Upper Arm

Direction of flow is Upper Arm to Axilla
Position shoulder in extension and external rotation Anchor of first fan tape on Axilla with no tension Apply tail with 15-25% tension down the anterior,

lateral, and medial aspect of upper arm Anchor of second fan at the clavicle with no tension and spiral tails in the posterior aspect of the arm.

Chronic Swelling of the Hand

Assists in removing swelling on the volar MCPs

and the dorsal hand

First fan anchors at the ulnar side of the wrist. Flex

wrist and apply tape on dorsal hand at the oblique pattern. Apply the tails with the notches at the web spaces of the fingers. Second fan anchors at the radial side of the wrist. Flex wrist and apply the tape on the dorsal hand at an oblique pattern. Apply the tails with the notches at the web spaces of the fingers The tails should be applied with 15-25% tension of the volar MCP heads.

Swelling of the Forearm

Direction of flow is Forearm to Medial Elbow
Position arm with elbow extended and wrist

extended Anchor the first fan tape at the medial aspect of the elbow with no tension Apply tails with 15-25% tension of the anterior, medial, and lateral aspect of forearm Anchor of second fan tape just off set of the first with no tension and spiral tails around the posterior aspect of the arm

Precautions and Contraindications

Precautions Contraindications
Kidney disease CHF Diabetes Open Wounds Pregnant Clients Fragile or healing tissue Active malignant areas Cellulitis Infection Allergies


Frazier S, Whitman J, Smith M. (2006). Utilization of

kinesio tex tape in patients with shoulder pain or dysfunction: A case series. Regis University, Advance Healing. http://tapingbase.com/sites/default/files/level_4_u tiliz ation_of_kinesio_tex_tape_in_patients__with_sh oulder_pa in_or_dysfunction_a_case_series.pdf Griffin, A., & Bernhardt, J. (2006). Strapping the hemiplegic shoulder prevents development of pain during rehabilitation: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation, (20), 287-295. doi: 10. I 191/0269215505cr94 I oa