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Kinesiology tape for stifles?

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  • Kinesiology tape for stifles?

    A friend of mine reported seeing Grand Prix jumping horses using this therapeutic tape across their stifles. Same as the volleyball players in the Olympics...
    Just wondering if anyone has more information on how and why it is used and how it sticks?!

  • #2
    My hubby and I both use that stuff and we love it. I'd LOVE to know how it works on stifles. Bump!
    Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay


    • #3
      How it is used: by applying to the skin over an area where an athlete perceives they have or actually has a problem.

      Why it is used: theoretically to slightly alter the proprioception (or awareness) of the area, and possibly by applying some tension to the skin altering the motion of the muscles underneath.

      Now whether this is actually beneficial or just "feels different" is highly debatable.

      It is certainly trendy. A manufacturer (maybe more than one) donated thousands of boxes to the Olympic teams of several countries either in 2004 or 2008, so you started to see it "front and center" almost right away among athletes who would probably try anything legal to give them a little boost. And in front of hundreds of TV cameras--a wonderful investment on the part of the tape company!

      It's sort of like wearing an elastic sleeve over a sore knee--the sleeve does virtually nothing, but it feels slightly different to wear the thing and that may impact the way one uses the joint and sometimes "different" is interpreted as "better" as far as perception of pain goes.

      Whether horses are subject to this level of discernment is debatable. They certainly don't buy into product endorsements. But their owners certainly do!
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        I believe proprioception is a concept that works for horses--I have a Very Big Horse who tends to be dumb and almost trippy about his hind legs who moves much better with boots on behind.

        (We think he may be closely related to a dinasour--takes a long time for the brain signals to get all the way back there )

        So it would be an interesting experiment to see whether the K-tape makes a difference...


        • #5
          I'm into road cycling and have messed up knees. I've done a lot of taping and can't say that I can tell much of a difference in terms of my knee pain.

          However, when I've used it on my IT band after I / my PT have worked to break up the fascia, the areas that have been taped show no bruising whereas areas that haven't been taped are bruised. If I applied it over a bruise, it is gone much faster than the areas of the bruise that weren't covered by the tape. So it must help blood-flow at least somewhat in people. Whether it would help horses in the same way or be enough to be at all beneficial in horses has yet to be determined as far as I know.

          As far as it's sticking ability, it works better on some people than others. At times I'd have to apply a special type of glue after prepping my skin. It sticks better if you are able to keep the area / tape warm after applying it (rubbing it for a few minutes helps some but I would often wear a stretchy knee sock thing and leave it on for a little while especially if it was cold / wintertime).

          I've heard of it being used on horses. I'd be weary of really trying it with horses because as with wrapping legs, it must be done correctly. My PT had done a lot of continuing education to become certified. None of the other PTs at that place would mess with the taping themselves.

          Further, it's about $9-12 a role. I would only get maybe 3 applications to my knee out of a single role and you'd need much more to do the stifle, shoulder, etc. of a horse.

          I'd be curious as to if anyone else knows more about its use in horses and if any real research has been done on the subject yet.
          Originally posted by RugBug
          Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.


          • #6
            Also a horse can't really tell you if it's on too tight or if it's making things worse. Until a few days later.
            Click here before you buy.


            • #7
              Also a horse can't really tell you if it's on too tight or if it's making things worse. Until a few days later.
              Click here before you buy.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for your thoughts so far. I'm not sure I can "buy" this one, but like to keep an open mind and at least throw the info in my brain, see how bad it hurts, then go from there...

                I did find this website with some pictures.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the link, candico. It'd be interesting to see some actual research done in order to see if it'd be beneficial in lower limb swelling (wind puffs, etc.). Not sure if it'd help blood flow enough in horses but if it'd be good for anything, that's my guess from having used the stuff on myself.
                  Originally posted by RugBug
                  Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.


                  • #10
                    How would you theorize that putting tape on the skin impacts blood flow? Things that work do so for a reason that can be understood. I do blood flow for a living and was an athletic trainer for years, and I can't fathom this one.
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • #11
                      Deltawave, I don't really know. All I know is from my personal experiences of using kinesiology tape on myself. The tape was doing something to reduce existing bruising and also prevent new bruising from developing (when I'd apply it after we'd work my IT band / break up fascia).

                      I don't know where my pictures are but I googled it and found this series of pictures (ironically enough, they're of someone who got this bruise from falling off a horse, haha).

                      So, while I'm not exactly sure how it works, I got nearly identical results from using the tape to help heal / prevent bruising. Any ideas since you've worked in the field (athletic trainer, etc.)?? And do you think it may do similar things with horses (whether it'd be enough to be helpful or not I know is impossible to say!)?
                      Originally posted by RugBug
                      Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.


                      • #12
                        If it is repeatedly reducing or preventing bruising, it is almost certainly not doing so by impacting "blood flow". That was my point, not to say it can't possibly have helped anyone.

                        Maybe by reducing friction (perhaps via changing stride dynamics or making you carry the leg differently) along the IT band (notorious area for friction types of bursitis) it caused less swelling and therefore less tissue trauma? That would be my theory. And for a horse, to imagine something so small could impact stride dynamics would be harder for me to believe. And I'd always be wary of messing with Mother Nature on a creature who can't say "no, that feels worse, it's on there wrong" like a person can.

                        I used to get IT band pain something awful, and learning to not always run on one side of the road like a dummy was what "cured" it. It was a mechanical intervention. I also had tried 20 different types of shoes, 3 different orthotics, stretching, even leg-wear, any one of which I was ready at one point or another to credit with "working" until I actually DID figure out the cause!

                        The pictures to me would indicate that the strapping caused superficial bruising to be pushed from one area of the bruise (under the tape) to another (the untaped areas), giving the impression that the taped area was resolving faster when it may equally be that BECAUSE of the tape the UNTAPED areas were resolving slower. A big bruise like that going away in 2 weeks would be fairly normal in a young, healthy person. Blood flow on the "macro" level has almost nothing to do with bruises going away. That is all taken care of by scavenger cells and any sort of basic motion (such as in a hip area) is going to get a bruise gone much quicker than artificially increasing "blood flow", if that were even possible. Or desirable. Turning blood flow up and down is not like dialing a dimmer switch--don't I wish!
                        Click here before you buy.


                        • #13
                          Thanks Deltawave, that makes sense. And I agree in that it seems incredibly unlikely for the taping to do any good when used on horses--and like you said they can't tell us if it's been applied wrong / is making things worse.
                          Originally posted by RugBug
                          Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.