Rachel Pople - Equine Physical Therapist (MSc)
Rachel Pople - Equine Physical Therapist (MSc)

Equine Kinesio Taping

Kinesio Taping was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase in the 1970s and has been used on humans ever since, with it being widely used during the Olympics at London 2012. The brightly coloured therapeutic tape has become very popular with athletes and has now been adapted for use on horses.

 

Kinesio tape does not act like a typical athletic brace or a support; it in fact decompresses the tissue and lifts the skin to allow increased blood and lymph circulation which assists in the body’s natural ability to heal. This decompression of the tissue also decreases pressure on the pain receptors which has an immediate effect on pain relief.

 

Kinesio Tex Gold FP is the highly effective elastic athletic support tape specifically designed for the Kinesio Taping method. It can be worn for 3-5 days and is made from 100% high grade cotton and is durable, breathable, water resistant and latex free. The tape provides unrestricted support allowing muscles and joints a full range of motion during activity, thereby allowing it to be used during a horse’s training, which can be very advantageous for rehabilitation cases.



Kinesio tape can have different effects depending on the direction and tension in which it is applied and the shape of the strip used. Because the tape increases circulation, bringing more oxygen to the working muscle, it ultimately strengthens muscles by allowing them to work harder and become stronger with less fatigue.

 

5 major physiological systems are affected by kinesio taping: 

 

  • Skin
  • Fascia
  • Circulation/Lymphatic Systems
  • Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons
  • Joints

Kinesio taping has 5 main functions:

 

Reduce Pain

If a horse is suffering from pain due to an injury, the nerve endings in that area become hypersensitive and are constantly firing messages to the brain. Taping is thought to take pressure off the pain receptors and instead stimulate the touch receptors in the skin which alters the messages sent to the brain. This provides an immediate benefit of pain relief.

 

Lymphatic/Blood circulation

Kinesio tape can be applied to lift the skin to form convolutions, increasing lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. The theory is that as the tape is stretched over the skin it creates convolutions (wrinkles), which increases the space between the fascia and the muscles. The convolutions take the pressure off the dermis of the skin, giving more space to promote the flow of lymphatic fluid, therefore helping to reduce bruising, oedema and associated swelling and allowing the lymphatic system to work more efficiently.

 

Muscle

Taping can be used to increase or reduce activity of muscles to optimise their performance. This method can therefore be used to reduce pain and tension in tight muscles and increase strength in weak muscles. Different tensions and recoil directions can be used depending on what the practitioner wants to achieve with the benefit of being able to inhibit muscles which are tight and in spasm and facilitate muscles which are long and weak. This consequently reduces the chances of sprains or strains. The tape always runs parallel with muscles and there is no tension at the start or end of the tape. Unlike standard strapping, this elasticated cotton tape is designed to mimic the skin, allowing normal movement.

 

Joints

Kinesio tape can be used to stimulate the skin receptors in order to create more awareness (proprioception) of an injury. By enhancing proprioceptive awareness, the horse is less likely to put the joint in that position again which could cause a repeat of the injury:

 

Kinesio taping affects joint biomechanics by:

 

  • Balancing agonist against antagonist
  • Reducing protective muscle guarding and pain
  • Supporting ligament and tendon function at the targeted joint
  • Assisting with joint movement through tape recoil or by reducing hypermobility

 

Tendons and Ligaments

If a tendon or ligament becomes injured this can cause damage to the nerve receptors in these soft tissue structures. This has a negative effect on proprioception and reactions to protect the structure are inhibited. Tape stimulates mechanoreceptors in the skin which sends signals to the brain for normal perception of tension on target tissues and communicates to the brain not to allow overstretch within the area of injury.

 

Posture

Kinesio taping is used for muscle re-education, reduction of muscular tension, improving joint mechanics, reducing pain and restoring correct muscular activation patterns.  The unique elasticity of the tape works with the elasticity of skin and allows full range of motion while still providing support to tissues, promoting improved posture and helping to prevent injuries from re-occurring.

 

Adopting the above principles Kinesio tape is thought to have immediate and long term benefits when used to treat:

 

  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Postural weakness
  • Circulation and lymphatic problems
  • Ligament, joint and tendon injuries
  • Fascial adhesions and scars
  • Pathological movement patterns

Contact Me:

Rachel Pople



Equine Physical Therapist



MSc (Animal Manipulation)

BSc (Biological Sciences)

Pg Dip (ESM)

 

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