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How to Use Kinesio Tape to Reduce Swelling & Bruising

Welcome back to the second post in our Kinesio Tape series! In today's post, we will discuss how to use kinesio tape to reduce swelling & bruising, especially after a surgery or injury. Also included in this post are step by step instructions on how to use kinesio tape for swelling & bruising reduction specific to the knee joint.

If you’re interested in purchasing your own K-tape, check out the link here!

Improve Recovery Time with Kinesio Tape

a physical therapist placing tape on a patient's shoulder

Oftentimes, after surgeries, a patient will have a lot of bruising in the area that was operated on. It is possible to use this tape to reduce swelling quicker for fast recovery after surgery.

It is also possible to use this tape to reduce swelling & bruising after an injury such as an ankle sprain. These taping techniques are to help promote a faster healing process.

Key Points About Kinesio Taping

a physical therapist placing kinesiology tape on a patient's knee

A couple key takeaways to discuss before jumping into the instructions for taping is first to make sure that the area of skin the tape will be applied to is clean and dry. Remove any lotion from that area with an alcohol wipe and make sure the skin is completely dry. This helps the tape to stick for an optimal amount of time.

Once the tape has been placed, it will typically stay on anywhere from a couple days to up to 5-6 days. You can shower with it and swim with it and it remains intact. One thing to monitor is to make sure there is not any redness around the area the tape is applied or itching. This could indicate you are allergic to the materials of the tape.

The longer you wear the tape, the more likely it is that you will experience the ends of the tape start to “roll up.” It is possible to take scissors and trim the edges of the tape that are rolling up. Once you reach more than 50% of the tape having rolled off, I would go ahead and remove it completely. When removing, hold your skin down and peel the tape slowly rather than ripping it off quickly.

If you'd like to learn more about the purpose and benefits of kinesio taping, check out my blog post here!

Kinesio Tape Technique for Swelling & Bruising

Let’s get into the taping technique for swelling and bruising.

Use a washcloth or soap & water, or a rubbing alcohol wipe to clean the skin. Let the skin air dry.

a physical therapist cleaning the skin before applying kinesio tape

Measure the tape from behind the knee to in front of the knee and cut two strips at this length.

a physical therapist measuring the length of tape needed for the knee

Once you have these strips cut, fold the tape in half and round off the corners with scissors.

a physical therapist rounding the edges of a kinesio tape strip

Fold the tape ¾ of the way into itself, with the paper side out, and cut small strips all across the folded side. I usually end up without 5 small strips.

a physical therapist cutting smaller strips in a kinesio tape strip

Once you have cut the smaller strips, you should have one side of the tape with one full square, and the other end with several small strips. Cut your other original strip in the same manner.

a physical therapist presenting her finished kinesio tape strips prior to applying to the skin of the knee

Once you have your cut strips, peel off the paper from one of the strips on the side that was not cut. This exposed piece is called “an anchor.” Place the anchor of tape on the back side of the knee

a physical therapist peeling off the paper back of kinesio tape

a physical therapist applying kinesio tape to the back of the knee

Tear the square piece of tape off and expose you starting portions of your small “finger-like” strips. We are using a “paper off” tension for this taping technique, so you want no tension on the small strips when applying them to the skin.

a physical therapist tearing off the back paper of the kinesio tape strip

Apply the small strips around the area of swelling. Space each of the pieces of “finger-like” strips apart from each other. If you have an incision site from a surgery, place the small strips around the incision. Do not place the tape over the incision site.

a physical therapist applying the small kinesio tape strips to the knee with a "paper off" technique

Take the second original strip and place the anchor on the opposite side back of the knee. Repeat the same technique, placing the “finger-like” strips criss-cross to the original ones over the area of swelling.

a physical therapist applying the final strip of tape during a kinesio taping technique of the knee

After you have completed the taping technique, rub the areas of tape with your hand to create a bit of heat to activate the adhesive of the tape. This helps the tape to stick better for longer periods of time.

If you'd like to follow along with the video version of this demonstration, click here!

Kinesio Tape Recap

kinesio tape scissors

As stated before, you can cut the ends of pieces that have begun to roll up with scissors. Once the tape has rolled 50% or greater, remove the tape completely.

If you would like to learn more about kinesio tape, or feel that it may be something you would benefit from, call use today at 810-215-9222 to schedule an appointment!

Be sure to catch the next video where I demonstrate how to apply kinesio tape to help with pain and muscle tightness. Stay tuned!

Ready to jump into physical therapy? We provide free 20-minute calls to get to know each other and see if you could benefit from physical therapy. Working with us may be the first step toward getting back to doing all of your favorite activities pain free!

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