Kinesiology Tape for General Elbow Pain

The human body would be a fantastic machine if anything else, the 90 TV shows where stunt performers withstood severe blows for humor proved that a person could withstand tremendous pain. And while a person does not need to submit themselves to a charging bull to become injured. While the body might be a pain-tolerating machine, the simplest twerks or tweaks can cause pain, especially in complicated articulations like the knee or the elbow.

The elbow is one of the essential articulations for everyday life and sports. The joint is usually subject to injury, and a particular injury in tennis is so routine it is called tennis elbow. While this particular injury is not only suffered while playing the sport, ask any mother or father who carries a newborn for hours. They will at least also suffer from the tennis names injury. 

Fortunately, treatment for the elbow at home is simple as long as it does not require complete immobilization or surgery. Support and compression provided by Kinesiology sports tape, or a combination of RICE and medication, can be powerful tools against the constant nagging pain that can present itself when suffering pain in the elbow.

How is the Elbow Formed

The elbow joint comprises three bones that all come together at a junction point. The humerus (upper arm bone) makes up the superior or upper portion of the joint. The bottom or lower end of the humerus splits into two bony protrusions: the epic lateral condyles and the medial. The elbow joint effectively joins the arm’s humerus to the radius and ulna of the forearm.

The joint is structurally classified as a synovial joint. It is a compound joint since it is made up of two articulations. Then it is also a synovial joint known as diarthrosis and is considered a free movable joint that permits 90-degree motions. The join is separated by a layer of hyaline cartilage that permits smooth movement at the joint thanks to the highly viscous synovial fluid. 

Types of Injuries

In general, most injuries suffered at the elbow are considered sports injuries. These are often suffered by playing tennis or golf. Other more impactful sports can lead to sprains, strains, fractures, dislocation, bursitis, and arthritis. The second series of injuries are usually the result of higher intensity training or sports like powerlifting or martial arts that see the joint placed under severe stress leading to break or similar trauma.

If the injury to the elbow sees a break or a tear in the joint ligaments, it is imperative to seek immediate medical assistance. These types of injuries can require surgery. 

Types of Injuries Suffered at the Elbow.

Sprains: A sprain is an injury to the ligaments that make up the elbow joint. It can happen when the elbow is bent or twisted quickly with force. The ligaments that make up the elbow and help connect the upper arm and the bones below are forced to the point they can get separated. 

Strains: An elbow strain is an injury at the elbow that occurs when the muscles or tendons that bend, flex, or extend become overstretched. The strain is also commonly referred to as a “pulled muscle.”

Fractures: The elbow can suffer from three types of fractures—the olecranon fracture, radial head fracture, and distal humerus fracture.

Olecranon Fracture: a break at what is referred to as the “pointy bone” of the elbow that protrudes out when the arm is bent at the elbow. This fracture type is common and usually occurs in isolation, yet it can lead to more complex injuries requiring surgery.

Radial Head Fracture: This is a fracture in the section of the radius close to the elbow. The injury is most common in adults and is usually suffered by falling onto a hand that is slightly bent or straightened out. 

Dislocation: When the joint surfaces separate but do not rupture between the cartilage and bones. Elbow dislocation can be complete or partial and are most common after a trauma. There are three stages in a complete dislocation. The joint surfaces are separated. In a partial dislocation, there is only a partial separation. Finally, a partial dislocation is referred to as a subluxation. 

Bursitis: Elbow bursitis is the inflammation of the olecranon bursa or the fluid sc that protects the elbow joint by cushioning its movements. This happens from frequent overuse by a sports activity or a job. It is usually treated at home; most people recover in three to six weeks.

Arthritis: in the elbow occurs when the cartilage in the elbow becomes damaged or worn. This can happen through repetitive activities or as a result of an injury, such as a fracture or dislocation. Elbow arthritis can be excruciating and become a nuisance in daily activities involving elbow bending.

What is Kinesiology Tape?

Kinesiology is the study of the mechanics of body movement; chiropractors, sports medics, and other fields of medicine use kinesiology in their disciplines to treat their patients. Kinesiology tape is a tool created in the 1970s by Dr. Kenzo Kase to help athletes recover from injury and still participate in training. Before the development of K-Tape, the market only offered surgical/medical tape that usually involved isolating the joint, causing the athlete to miss training.

Dr. Kenzo Kase developed the tape by combining cotton fabric with elastic nylon. This allows the tape to wrap and support and provide stability to articulation in the body. The tape’s adhesive also came medicated containing Diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). The main objective of the tape is to compress the affected area to stave off inflammation. 

Inflammation is the main culprit to slow healing. Blood has difficulty reaching the injury as the tissues become engorged with fluids. This means a slower return to action once the tape is applied. The compression fights off the build-up of liquids and allows blood and oxygen to reach the injury and heal faster. 

The tape also differs from traditional medical tape since its application requires cuts of different lengths around the injury and shorter strips of tape that act as anchors placed along the skin.

Helping the Elbow

Kinesiology tape is frequently used to treat elbow pain and similar issues with swelling. It focuses on increasing circulation to the nonvascular area. K-Tape decreases pressure and brings relief, and pain is reduced significantly. To add to recovery, massage, stretching, and localized ice packs after activities can help. Once the elbow has recovered, it is recommended that light exercise be performed while strength in the articulation is being built back up.

Generally speaking, most injuries regarding the elbow will require a T-shaped application of tape along the arm. Firstly measure the length of the elbow to four fingers before the wrist; once measured, cut the tape. The second tape goes across and above the first tape. It is slightly longer than a hand; cut the second strip. Bend the elbow, place the tape, and run it along the arm’s length, crossing over the forearm and ending before the wrist. Now place the second strip of tape across the forearm; this functions as an anchor of sorts helping the place stay in place.

Steps To Apply the Tape

Kinesiology tape or athletic tape is not hard to use, but preparation for proper application is critical. The adhesive is powerful and is infamous for its removal. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make life easier. 

Steps to Apply Tape.

  1. Identify the injury and what tape application is needed.
  2. Shave the area of excess body hair.
  3. Wash and dry the area.
  4. Follow the instructions and apply the tape.
  5. Rub the tape along the length to activate the adhesive.

Steps to Removing the Tape

K-tape is designed to stay on the body for up to five days. It is resistant to water since it must withstand the body’s sweat. So if proper steps aren’t taken for removal, it will pull out the hair on the body. 

  1. Wash the area and the tape with warm water and plenty of soap.
  2. Allow the soap to lose the adhesive, then proceed to pull the tape the same way hair grows on the body.
  3. If the tape is resistant, use baby oil. Allow the baby oil to settle and soak along the tape. 
  4. Once the tape is loose, peel it off, following how the hair grows along the body.

RICE and Medication

Kinesiology tape and the RICE method go hand in hand to bring pain relief. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. K-tape covers the compression role in the RICE method. The combination of these techniques helps recovery speed. The use of medication for injury is commonplace; make sure to consult with a medical professional as to what type is best. 

To Top

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This