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Does Kinesio Tape Application Help Following Surgery?

by Athletico4 Comments

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.

What does Kinesio Tape Claim Do?

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:

  • A gentle lift of the skin creates/increases the space between the skin and the fascia, which allows fluid (lymph and blood flow) to move more freely. This decreases stagnation of lymph and blood ultimately quickening the process of healing by decreasing the amount of time patients experience swelling and quickening bruise healing.
  • Pain relief occurs as the lift of the skin from the fascia decreases the compression on pain receptor sites. A patient with less pain can more freely move through available range of motion (ROM) and ultimately tolerate exercises better.

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

So Does It Actually Work?

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.

does kinesio tape work after surgery

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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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Gramatikova, Mariya, et al. “NATURE, APPLICATION AND EFFECT OF KINESIO – TAPING.” Activities in Physical Education and Sport.

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  1. Pam Stearns

    My therapist is going to apply tape to my hand following trigger finger surgery on both my ring finger and middle finger. My hand is still rather swollen four weeks out. I do still have fairly raw skin at incision site. Can gauze be placed over the wound and still apply the tape?

  2. Athletico

    Hello Pam, we recommend discussing your concerns with your therapist. The treating therapist will appreciate knowing any concerns you may have during your recovery.

  3. Rebeca

    Would you apply it to a patient s/p knee replacement, with (-) duplex for DVT.
    pt has a lot of pain and it is limiting his WB tolerance and ambulation

  4. Terri Timmons

    I have had planter fasciatis surgery along with a compressed nerve removal…on April 9th and am just now (as of last Saturday) starting to walk with half weight due to my acupuncture lady taping my foot for my Achilles and across my fascia, it also helps me do my home physical exercises better, but I am wondering if it is ok…it should be as my fascia was cut/released 9 weeks ago so it shouldn’t have any negative impact, right 🤔

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