Types of Kinesiology Tape
Kinesiology tape can be applied in different ways, depending on why it’s needed. Your physical therapist can show you how to use the tape and cut the adhesive strips into the right configuration.
Some of the taping types include:
- The “I” strip: This shape can be used to make the other types of strips below. Typically “I” strips are used to support muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They are often used to facilitate your rotator cuff, gluteus muscles, quadriceps, or Achilles’ tendon.5 It can also be used on your low back and middle back to help you maintain proper posture.
- The “X” strip: This type is used when kinesiology tape is needed to cover a large area or cross multiple joints. The tabs of the “X” strip cross over sensitive areas such as the back of your knees or front of your elbows. This strip is commonly used to facilitate your hamstrings, which cross both your hip joint and the back part of your knee joint.5
- The “Y” strip: This strip is used to cross sensitive areas of your body such as behind your knee or in the front of your elbow. It is also commonly used for applications to control the position of your kneecap as in patellofemoral stress syndrome or a subluxing patella. The “Y” strip is typically not as long as the “X” strip.6
- The “fan” strip: This type can help control swelling of your leg or arm. It is commonly used in lymphedema management or for superficial contusions and swelling.7
- The “lift” strip: Commonly referred to as the Band-Aid, this strip is often used to support injured tissues or to treat muscle knots or trigger points. It helps to lift skin and tissues off of sore muscles and trigger points. It is also used to treat superficial bruises.4
Your therapist or sports medicine provider can ensure that you’re placing the tape in the proper position and that the tape is not too tight or restrictive. They’ll also let you know how long to wear the kinesiology tape.