LYMPHEDEMA AND KINESIO TAPING
Kinesio Taping (R) has swept around the world as a new and exciting treatment option for many conditions, including lymphedema. Differents types of taping has long been used and proven effective in the treatment of various sports injuries.
The concept behind this claims that by lifting the skin and by the stretching of the tape during body movements, lymphatic flow is improved. I have even read posts where lymphedema patients claim it has helped.
Originally, I must admit to having doubts about the effectiveness of Kinesio Taping. Since I first posted this well over a year ago, we have had many patients in our various support groups try it with their therapist. Ages range from small children to adults in their fifties. I have been turned around in my thinking and from what everyone has reported, I would have to give this a thumbs up.
Manual lymph drainage (MLD) has been proven very effective because it is a massage therapy that gently applies pressure to move fluids out of swollen limbs to where the remaining lymphatics can remove it. It seems kinesio taping in conjunction with MLD can produce good results.
My concern is in possible skin damage to lymphedema patients by the application of the adhesive and glues that hold these tapes in place. From late stage one thru stage three, the skin of a lymphedema patient becomes more delicate, prone to damage,cracking and opening up with draining wounds. This is serious as skin damage leads to infections, skin grafts and further lymphatic destruction. So work with your therapist and determine if it would be safe on your individual skin.
The only clinical study I found regarding Kinesio Taping (R) was in relation to sports injury and in it they found no differance in the healing of an ankle injury between the taped and nontaped groups. This study was conducted by people who were initially excited and supportive of this taping procedure.
Originally published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine the study is available on the link below (1)
Dec. 26, 2011
Since this page was originally written, Kinesio Taping has continued to receive top reviews from patients and therapists alike. Further more, the number of studies showing its possibe use with other medical conditions has skyrocketed.
What is Kinesio(R) Taping?
Kinesio tape has an elastic quality that differs from athletic tape. It allows free movement without restriction while providing support and reducing muscle fatigue. It is helpful in reducing pain and edema through the stretching of muscle and soft tissue as well as improved lymphatic flow.
Four Major Functions of Kinesio Tape:
Kinesio tape can be placed on any part of the body and therapists at Excel Rehab have had success in treating patients with the following diagnoses:
1. Where did the word "Kinesio" come from?
The name comes from the science of Kinesiology, because the taping method and tape allows the body and muscles to move while it assists in rehabilitation.
2. What does Kinesio Taping® and tape do?
Kinesio Taping® Method is applied over muscles to reduce pain & inflammation, relax overused tired muscles, and to support muscles in movement on a 24hr/day basis. It is not a restrictive type of taping, and allows for full range of motion. In contrast, traditional sports' taping is wrapped around a joint strictly for stabilization and support during a sporting event. Kinesio® tape is used for a wide range of problems. Examples include: carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back strain/pain, subluxations, herniated disc, knee conditions, shoulder conditions,sports injuries, etc.
3. Why is Kinesio® Tape so much more accepted than other tapes?
It has a number of benefits that are not achievable with other tapes. It has One Hundred Percent High Grade Cotton - for comfort and breathing, One Hundred and Forty Per Cent Elastic - same flexibility as human skin and muscles, Heat Activated Adhesive - although very light, mild and hypo-allergenic Latex Free, Air Circulation Waves - to channel out sweat and water and enhance skin breathing, Durable - average usage 3-4 days per application, More Economical - usually 6-7 applications per roll of tape.
4. Is it the tape or the technique that gives such great results?
Without a doubt, the technique is the most unique, however, the full benefits were not possible until Kinesio® tape was developed. The taping method requires a tape that is patient and skin friendly, possesses optimum elastic qualities, the same thickness as the skin, and is durable enough to stay on multiple days even through persperaton, sweat and showers.
5. How is the tape applied?
Without getting too technical, the tape is applied over the affected area with the muscles in a stretched position. Then the tape is applied from one end of the muscle to the other with very little stretch of the tape. The tape is applied from the ORIGIN to INSERTION of the muscle for SUPPORT and from INSERTION to ORIGIN for REHAB.
6. What are the concerns or difficulties with Kinesio Taping® (Trouble Shooting)?
A.) Skin needs to be free of oil, sweat, or lotion prior to application
B.) After application rub down tape to activate heat sensitive glue
C.) Avoid extreme stretching of the tape during application to avoid skin irritation
D.) Apply approx. 1 hr prior to activity or shower to allow glue to adhere properly
E.) Skin irritation is extremely rare, but special care should be taken with hypersensitive skin patients.
Alternative Therapy Clinic
The Effects of Kinesio Taping on ankle proprioception (1)
This page is an excellent source of information for lymphedema patients:
PubMed page with additional links for further information
The Kinesio Taping® Method has taken the Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine world by storm. This amazing taping method was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase over 25 years ago in Japan. Kinesio Taping® has quickly become the gold, or should we say "platinum" standard, for therapeutic rehabilitative taping. The proprietary method of taping uses a uniquely designed and patented tape for treatment of muscular disorders and lymphedema reduction.
The Kinesio Taping® Method involves taping over and around muscles in order to assist and give support or to prevent over-contraction. The first technique gives the practitioner the opportunity to actually give support while maintaining full range of motion. This enables the individual to participate in their normal physical activity with functional assistance. The second technique, which is most commonly used in the acute stage of rehabilitation, helps prevent overuse or over-contraction and helps provide facilitation of lymph flow for an entire 24 hour period. Correctional techniques include mechanical, lymphatic, ligament/tendon, fascia, space and functional. Kinesio Tex® Tape can be used in conjunction with other therapies, including cryotherapy, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, and electrical stimulation.===========================
Abstracts and Studies:
Effect of Kinesio Taping on bioelectrical activity of vastus medialis muscle. Preliminary report.
Effect of Kinesio taping on muscle strength in athletes-a pilot study
The effect of kinesio taping on lower trunk range of motions.
Kinesio taping in stroke: improving functional use of the upper extremity in hemiplegia
Pilot study: investigating the effects of Kinesio Taping in an acute pediatric rehabilitation setting.
Application of the Kinesio Taping
This study is currently recruiting participants.
Verified by National Taiwan University Hospital, August 2004
Taiwan University Hospital
Information provided by:
National Taiwan University Hospital
Date First Received: September 8, 2005
Last Updated: January 25, 2006
Official Title: “Treatment of Lymphedema- Application of the Kinesio Taping”
Device: Low Stretch Bandage and Kinesio Tape
There are 2 parts to this study
First part: - Reliability of water displacement, circumference, tonometer. - Effect of taping: lifting effect measured with sonography - Effect of taping: peripheral circulation measured with DRT4
Second part: - Effects of different intervention models including decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT) and modified DLT
Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Treatment, Randomized, Single Blind, Active Control, Parallel Assignment
To investigate the reliability study of water displacement and circumference measurement and the change in thickness of subcutaneous space measured by sonography and blood flow measured by DRT4 in normal subjects after applying K-tape.
The incidence of breast carcinoma is in the second place in women in Taiwan. Lymphedema is a common complication after treatment of breast carcinoma; it will lead not only to cosmetic problems but is also uncomfortable, and causes functional limitation for patients. The common management for lymphedema is decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT) including skin care, manual lymph drainage, remedial exercises and compression therapies. At present, all possible compression therapies for lymphedema have limitations. Patients have poor compliance in using short-stretch bandage and compression garments due to the climate in Taiwan. Applying kinesio tape (K-tape) became a new treatment method in physical therapy; the inventor Dr. Kase claimed that the K-tape can improve circulation and remove congestion. Besides, it demonstrated good therapeutic effects in clinical application. However, there are few studies to show the clinical effects of K-tape. This restricts the further application of K-tape.
Following the previous study, the purpose is to compare the effects among traditional DLT, modified DLT which replaces bandage with K-tape, and DLT combined K-tape in patients with lymphedema.
A randomized control study will be executed. Sixty patients with post-mastectomy lymphedema will be randomly grouped into taping, bandage and mixed groups. Each subject will go through 4 weeks of a control period, 4 weeks of an intervention period, and followed by 3 months of an observation period. The evaluation items include physical therapy assessment, the severity of swelling, such as arm circumference, volume of water displacement, related symptoms, the upper extremity function and quality of life. The evaluation will be executed 4 weeks before the interventions (start of control period), before the intervention (start of intervention period), after a 4 week intervention and 3 months after the intervention to compare the effects among 3 kinds of treatment. Subjects in each group will receive treatments including skin care, manual lymphatic drainage, pneumatic compression therapy and exercise during the intervention period; the taping group’s patients will receive additional K-tape treatment; the mixed group’s patients will receive K-tape combined bandage treatment. Each group will be treated 2 hours/time, 5 times/week; the entire course will take 4 weeks.
Lead Sponsor: National Taiwan University Hospital
School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy College of Medicine, National Taiwan University
Jau-Yih Tsauo, PhD Study Chair NTUH
Information obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov on April 22, 2008
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record. http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT00155220
Study ID Number: 9261701436
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00155220
Health Authority: Taiwan: Department of Health
Clinical Trials content is provided directly by the U.S. National Institutes of Health via ClinicalTrials.gov and is not reviewed separately by ClinicalTrialsFeeds.org. Every page of specific clinical trials information contains a unique identifier which can be used to find further details directly from the National Institutes of Health.
There are 2 parts to this study.
Reliability of water displacement, circumference, tonometer.
Effect of taping: lifting effect measured with sonography
Effect of taping: peripheral circulation measured with DRT4
Effects of different intervention models including decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT) and modified DLT
The following information as quoted comes from the "ChiroCode DeskBook 18th Edition 2010." The Kinesio Taping Association can not guarantee that the use of these codes will result in payment. It
is the responsibility of the Practitioner to bill appropriately for
services and to check with Medicare or other healthcare insurance
companies if there are questions. Reimbursement results will vary with regards to the state the practitioner is in and the insurance companies dealt with.
For more information, please visit www.chirocode.com/2010deskbook
CPT Reimbursement Options for the Kinesio Taping Method
2010 Top Suggested Billing Code:
97112 - Neuro-Muscular Re-Education (this code can apply to any taping option)
Neuro-Muscular Re-Education of movement, balance, coordination, kinesthetic sense, posture, and/or proprioception for sitting and/or standing activities, 1 or more areas, each 15 minutes.
RVU 2010 CodeBook: ncci .83
RVU data includes: work time, 18 min. / supplies, $1.75
Other Therapeutic Procedure codes that may be appropriate:
97110 - Therapeutic Procedure/Exercise one or more areas
RVU 2010 CodeBook: ncci .79
RVU data includes: work time, 18 min. / supplies, $1.75
97116 - Gait Training
RVU 2010 CodeBook: ncci .70
RVU data includes: work time, 15 min. / supplies, $1.18
97139 - Unlisted Therapeutic Procedure
RVU 2010 CodeBook: ncci .42
97140 - Manual Therapy Techniques
RVU 2010 CodeBook: ncci .74
RVU data includes: work time, 15 min. / supplies, $1.30
97533 - Sensory Integrative Techniques to enhance sensor processing and promote adaptive responses to environmental demands
RVU 2010 CodeBook: ncci .74
RVU data includes: work time, 23 min. / supplies, $2.18
97799 - Unlisted Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation service or procedure
RVU 2010 CodeBook: ncci .NE
For additional codes, see:
Index of articles for Lymphedema Treatment :
Complex Decongestive Therapy
Flexitouch Device - Initial Observations
Flexitouch Device for Arm Lymphedema
Kinesio Taping (R)
Laser Treatment - Sara's Experience
Light Beam Generator Therapy
Lymphedema Treatment Programs Canada
Lymphedema Treatments are Poorly Utilized
Short Stretch Bandages
Why Compression Pumps cause Complications with Lymphedema
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For information on Infections Associated with Lymphedema
For information on Lymphedema in Children
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While we have a number of support groups for lymphedema... there is nothing out there for other lymphatic disorders. Because we have one of the most comprehensive information sites on all lymphatic disorders, I thought perhaps, it is time that one be offered.
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Page Updated: Dec. 26, 2011