As you may recall from our intro post on kinesiology taping, we’re going to focus on each muscle group/joint and show you how to use kinesiology tape in three distinct ways:
- Immediately after injury (for swelling and pain)
- During the healing process (correction techniques to restore normal position and allow for healing)
- Techniques to help improve strength + function
In our last post on the back of the thigh/hamstring area, we reviewed a taping application for any pain, swelling, bruising that may occur in the early days post injury. You can review that here. In this post, we’ re going to be talking about a taping technique that is trying to assist the injured hamstring muscle. This will provide support so that the injured muscle can heal.
The key for using it is to use the anatomy! Remember, the tape is specifically made to pull on itself. That is what the weird spirals and shapes are when you look at the back of the tape. When trying to facilitate/help the muscle, you want the tape to move from the muscle origin to insertion so that when the tape pulls on itself, it results in a concentric pull (concentric = shortening of the muscle). In most sprain/strain injuries, the hamstring muscles are overstretched and even torn. This taping application is trying keep them from being overstretched again so that the muscles can heal.
Muscle Origin & Insertion
There are three individual muscles: the semimebranosus, the semitendonosis, and the biceps femoris. If you simplify it…all three share the same origin on your ischial tuberosity (sit bone); two come down behind the inside of your knee and the third comes down to the outside. Here is a pic to help give you a visual (this is a right leg).
1) Biceps Femoris (lateral hamstrings). Of the three hamstring muscles, the biceps is the largest and most powerful. It is compromised of a long and short head that both cross the knee joint before inserting onto the tibia.
2) The Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus (medial hamstrings). These two muscles are smaller than the biceps and run down the inside of the back of your thigh. The semitendinosus is a small, thin muscle that has a long tendon, while the semimembranosus is a larger muscle with a shorter tendon. Of these two, the semitendinosus is the most important. This muscle wraps around the inside of the knee to insert into the front of the tibia. When inflamed of chronically tight, it can contribute to pain around the knee cap.
What you will need:
1) Roll of kinesiology tape
2) Sharpest scissors in the house.
1) Clean skin. This means no oils or lotions of any kind. You want your skin to be clean and more importantly dry. Moisture of any kind = tape will fall off or fail to stick altogether.
2) Hair care. Ideally, the less hair the better. Guys, this means that for best results you will need to trim any long leg hair or shave the calf area.
3) If clean, dry, and hairless skin still = no sticking of tape. Time to get some adhesive spray like Tuf Skin.
4) The tape should last 3-5 days. You can get it wet and shower with it on. Just towel dry it after. No hair dryer! The tape is heat activated. 😉
- The tape must run from the muscle origin to insertion. In the case of the hamstring muscles, this means from the sit bone (ischial tuberosity) down the back of the thigh. Depending on the size and location of the strain you can continue down the back of the leg into the calf or specifically to the inside or outside of the knee.
- Prep the skin first and then place the muscle on stretch. For the hamstrings, this means having the knee straight and hip flexed. This an be done by bending forward at the waist, laying on your stomach and hanging the injured leg off the side of the bed/table, or laying on your back using a belt/strap to pull the leg up.
- Apply primary strip WITHOUT tension. The tape works by pulling on itself. Lay the anchor down first (last 1-2″ of the tape), apply the tape and then rub the tape to warm up and activate the adhesive.
- A secondary correction strip can be applied over any specific or painful area. Cut the tape so that it is long enough to cover this area with 1-2″ of tape on either side. Round the edges, apply 50-75% stretch and place the tape. Then remove the paper backing and lay down the ends. Don’t sweat the 50-75%. Think medium stretch versus maximum “how far can I pull this tape” kind of stretch.
- See the video above for full details.
1) Capobianco, Dr. Steven and van den Dries, Greg. (2009). Power Taping, 2nd Edition, Rock Tape Inc, Los Gatos, CA.
2) Hammer, Warren. (2007). Functional Soft-Tissue Examination and Treatment by Manual Methods, 3rd edition. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc, Sudbury, MA.
3) Kase, Kenzo, Wallis, Jim, and Kase, Tsuyoshi. (2003). Clinical Therapeutic Applications of the Kinesio Taping Method.
4) Muscolino, Joseph. (2009). The Muscle and Bone Palpation Manual. Mosby, Inc, St. Louis, MO.