Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Breaking the tape

I have been asked too many times over the last month about the tape Olympic beach volleyball athletes, Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor wore during the Beijing Olympics. Does it do anything or is it a promotional gimmick?

I cannot answer whether money changed hands. Only their manager and hairdresser know for sure. However, I can tell you this. The tape on their legs and shoulders is a useful tool in the arsenal on the war against injuries. It is a Japanese product called Kinesio Tex® Tape. It is a very thin (about the same thickness as skin), porous cotton fabric with a medical grade acrylic adhesive. A special method of adhesive application and porous nature of the fabric allows the skin to breathe and showering cleans part of the skin under the tape. The tape is designed for a 30 to 40% longitudinal only stretch and when applied lifts the skin and provides support for surrounding soft tissue. This support occurs by reducing the eccentric muscle firing needed to decelerate the muscle group forces it is taped over yet allowing the athlete to still function in his or her sport. I use this tape in my office myself for certain types of injuries (usually those with eccentric overload causes).
So is it marketing? Maybe. The Olympics is big business and who wouldn’t want product with bikini clad healthy women. Is it useful? Definitely

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