Following surgery, trauma to the tissues surrounding the surgical site is likely present, resulting in swelling and /or bruising. This can be a hindrance to the recovery and early phases of healing, as it can limit motion, increase pain, and – depending on body part/joint – affect walking and function.
Dr. Kenzo Kase, who developed Kinesio Tape, theorized that the properties of Kinesio Tape can impact the fascia (tissues) and thus help the healing processes of the body. When muscles, tendons and ligaments are inflamed (i.e. after surgery), swelling and shortening occurs and the space between the skin and fascia decreases. There is also a slowing of lymph and blood flow as well as compression of the pain receptors. Application of Kinesio Tape allows for the following to happen:
Additional Kinesio Taping techniques can be applied in conjunction with those to correct swelling and bruising. This allows for stimulation of nerves that help tell us where our body is in space, positional correction and muscle stimulation, resulting in improved ROM and muscle contraction to further the patient’s function.1
I have used this technique with several patients following surgery to help remove fluid that is limiting range of motion (ROM) and causing increased pain. Patients have reported they feel much better when the tape is applied compared to when they do not wear the tape, noting that their swelling stays to a minimum as well as reduced pain which allows them to complete exercises more easily.
Below are the results of use of Kinesio Tape to a patient following knee surgery. The patient was being seen two times a week with no additional modalities utilized to address the bruising and electrical stimulation applied for pain post treatment. The patient was taped at the first appointment of the week and re-taped following the last session for the week. Bruising took longer to dissipate; however, the 5-8 cm girth difference because of edema resolved after the second taping application.
As you can see from the pictures, there is a definite improvement in symptoms and patient subjective reports have been consistent with “feeling better.” If you are noticing swelling and bruising that is not going away, talk with your therapist about techniques like Kinesio Tape to see if this treatment is appropriate to help alleviate symptoms that may be limiting progress.
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1. Gramatikova, Mariya, et al. “NATURE, APPLICATION AND EFFECT OF KINESIO – TAPING.” Activities in Physical Education and Sport.