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What went wrong with the Kinesio Tape I put on?

Although the internet is a great resource for many “how to…” instructions, you might want to think twice about putting Kinesio Tape on yourself via the internet! Knowing how to place the tape is key to a successful outcome. But even more important than knowing how to put the tape on, is having a solid understanding of why you are applying the tape and what you are trying to achieve.

 Health and wellness practitioners attend hours of continuing education courses to become certified in the Kinesio Taping method to properly evaluate skin, fascia, muscle, joint and fluid dynamic conditions in order to determine the unique application of the tape based on the assessment findings. In other words, the tape is not a “one size fits all” application.  

The application of Kinesio Tape for shoulder pain, for example, will vary based on the cause of pain, impingement, muscle/tendon tear, muscle weakness, inflammation, muscle spam, or nerve irritation (amongst other causes). Variables in application of the tape include what pattern, what direction of pull/anchor, and amount of tension. Something as simple as where you start and stop the tape can mean the difference between activating a muscle vs. inhibiting the muscle.

Applying Kinesio Tape in the wrong pattern, direction or with the incorrect amount of tension may result in severe bruising, increased swelling or even further soft tissue injury. For best results and greater application success have a trained professional apply the tape for you. If there aren’t any certified or trained practitioners near you, then the best place to look for online instructions would be on the Kinesiotaping website at

Dr. Niki Varveris, PT, DPT, MSPT, MBA, CKTP

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