Friday, November 29, 2013

What is Kinesiology Taping?

Kinesiology tape is a thin, stretchy, elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive. Therapeutic kinesiology tape can benefit a wide variety of musculoskeletal and sports injuries, plus inflammatory conditions. 

Kinesiology tape is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticity, which allows kinesio tape to be worn without binding, constricting or restriction of your movement.

Kinesiology tape is used for treating athletic injuries and a variety of physical disorders. For the first decade after its introduction practitioners in Japan were the main users of the therapeutic kinesiology tape. By 1988 the tape had been adopted by Japanese Olympic and professional athletes before spreading across the world.

You would have noticed that more and more professional athletes use kinesiology taping improve their sporting performance, prevent injury and allow them to return to sport quicker.
What are the Benefits of Kinesiology Taping?
Kinesiology tape has a comprehensive array of therapeutic benefits. Because it can be left on for up to 5 days, these therapeutic benefits are available to the injured area 24 hours a day, significantly accelerating the healing process from trauma, injuries and inflammatory conditions.

1. Pain Relief
Kinesiology taping relieves pain through both physical and neurological mechanisms. The lifting action of the tape relieves pressure on pain receptors directly under the skin, allowing for quick relief from acute injuries. Chronic pain is affected through sensory stimulation of other types of nerve fibres This is especially effective for pain that persists after an injury has healed or for pain that is out of proportion to the severity of an injury.

2. Reduced Swelling, Inflammation and Bruising

Reduced pressure on the lymphatic drainage channels enhances the removal of fluids and other materials that collect in an injured area. This applies not only to sports injuries, but to other inflammatory conditions, including the extreme swelling of lymphodema.
3. Prevention or Relief from Spasms and Cramping

Enhanced circulation to working muscles helps deliver oxygen and nutrients at the cellular level as well as accelerate the removal of waste products. Both of these mechanisms can help prevent or relieve spasms and cramps in overused or injured muscles.
4. Speedier Recovery of Overused Muscles

Fatigued, overused muscles contain byproducts of exercise (such as lactic acid) that contribute to pain and stiffness and limit the ability to continue exercising. When kinesiology tape is used over these areas, enhanced removal of these byproducts allows for more rapid recovery. This could translate into improved performance in endurance events or more complete recovery between repetitive, high intensity events.
5. Structural Support for Weak or Injured Body Parts

The unique elastic properties of kinesiology tape allow it to provide support to an injured muscle or joint, discouraging harmful movements while still allowing a safe, healthy range of  motion.
6. Enhanced Strength and Muscle Tone in Weak or 
    Injured Muscles

Loss of strength or muscle tone can result from pain, injury or a variety of neurological or muscular disorders. In these situations, the weakness can interfere with the ability to do the exercises that are critical to recovery or improving daily functioning. Kinesiology tape not only provides support to these areas, but it can also improve neurological muscle activation, allowing therapeutic exercises to be carried out more effectively. One of the major uses in this category is with infants and young children with hypotonia, poor muscle tone that limits their ability to learn to sit up, crawl, etc.

7. Allows Athletes to Remain Active while Injured:

This is one of the most important benefits of kinesiology tape for competitive athletes. Injuries can be taped to relieve pain, minimize inflammation and provide support  for injured structures, without compromising a healthy range of motion. Except in the case of severe injuries, this can allow athletes to continue training and/or competing as their injuries heal.

How Does Kinesiology Tape Reduce Swelling? 

How does Kinesiology Taping reduce Swelling and Bruising?
The profound effects Kinesiology tape has on pain, inflammation and performance are related solely to its physical interaction with the skin and the neurosensory receptors in the skin. Kinesiology tape contains no medications or analgesic ingredients.

The unique properties of kinesiology tape combined with kinesiology taping techniques allow it to affect the body in ways that cannot be duplicated by any other form of sports tape. 

Following is a simplified explanation of the major mechanisms of action:  
When a muscle or joint is overused or injured, that area becomes inflamed or swollen. This swelling is composed of blood (internal bleeding from the injury) and other fluids. The excess fluid should be removed by the lymphatic vessels in the area, but if the inflammation is great enough, the lymphatic vessels get compressed and can’t do their job. This can lead to an ongoing cycle of inflammation and pain, which limits performance and slows the healing process.
 How Kinesiology Tape Works-Without TapeWhen kinesiology tape is applied to the skin over an inflamed area, the stretch in the tape gently lifts the skin, creating a space between the skin and the tissues below. This creates an area of negative pressure, allowing both blood vessels and lymphatic vessels to dilate (open), increasing the circulation of both fluids.

Improved blood flow enhances delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the injured tissues, accelerating the healing process. When lymphatic vessels dilate, the fluid that has collected in the injured area can drain away. This reduces swelling, which relieves pressure on the pain receptors providing immediate pain relief.

 How Kinesiology Tape Works-With TapeAdditional mechanisms that also come into play involve an intricate interplay between the body’s sensory system, neurological system and muscular system.

The ongoing, low level sensory stimulation from the tape on the skin activates pain gating mechanisms that assist in the relief of chronic pain.

They also allow restoration of normal muscle activation, restoring strength and mobility in muscles that may have been inhibited by pain or injury.

What Conditions Does Kinesiology Tape Help?

Joint Pain Arthritis, bursitis, lupus, degenerative joints, poorly aligned joints, joint instability
Muscle Pain Torn muscles, pulled/strained muscles, tight muscles, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, calf strain, pulled hamstring, groin strain, strained gluteals, abdominal strain
Soft Tissue Injuries Tendinitis, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golfers elbow (medial epicondylitis), patellar tendinitis, Achilles tendonitis, whiplash, back strain, neck strain, rotator cuff injuries, iliotibial band syndrome (ITB)
Joint Injuries Joint sprains, dislocated joints, sprained ankle, sprained knee, sprained wrist, sprained elbow, degenerated meniscus, torn cartilage, unstable joints, joint hypermobility
Overuse Injuries Carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress syndrome, shin splints, Iliotibial Band Syndrome, tension headaches
Swelling and Edema Lymphodema, swollen joints, edema, lymphatic congestion, chronic joint or muscle inflammation
Postural Problems Poor posture, round shoulders, scapular instability, muscle weakness, muscle imbalance, poor muscle tone, hypotonia
Recovery from Surgery Athletic injury surgery, reconstructive surgery, joint replacement surgery, meniscus repair, ligament surgery, tendon surgery, lymph node removal
Bruising Bruising following injuries or surgery, contusions
Foot Pain Plantar fasciitis, fallen arches

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hallux Rigidus Symptoms(Stiff Big Toe)

The most common site of arthritis in the foot is at the base of the big toe. This joint is called the metatarsophalangeal, or MTP joint. 

It's important because it has to bend every time you take a step. If the joint starts to stiffen, walking can become painful and difficult. 

In the MTP joint, as in any joint, the ends of the bones are covered by a smooth articular cartilage. If wear-and-tear or injury damage the articular cartilage, the raw bone ends can rub together. A bone spur, or overgrowth, may develop on the top of the bone. This overgrowth can prevent the toe from bending as much as it needs to when you walk. The result is a stiff big toe, or hallux rigidus. 

Hallux rigidus usually develops in adults between the ages of 30 and 60 years. No one knows why it appears in some people and not others. It may result from an injury to the toe that damages the articular cartilage or from differences in foot anatomy that increase stress on the joint. 

  • Pain in the joint when you are active, especially as you push-off on the toes when you walk
  • Swelling around the joint
  • A bump, like a bunion or callus, that develops on the top of the foot
  • Stiffness in the great toe and an inability to bend it up or down  

If you find it difficult to bend your toe up and down or find that you are walking on the outside of your foot because of pain in the toe, see your doctor right away. Hallux rigidus is easier to treat when the condition is caught early. If you wait until you see a bony bump on the top of your foot, the bone spurs will have already developed and the condition will be more difficult to treat. 

Your physician will examine your foot and look for evidence of bone spurs. He or she may move the toe around to see how much motion is possible without pain. X-rays will show the location and size of any bone spurs, as well as the degree of degeneration in the joint space and cartilage. 

Nonsurgical Treatment

Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen may help reduce the swelling and ease the pain. Applying ice packs or taking contrast baths (described below) may also help reduce inflammation and control symptoms for a short period of time. 

But they aren't enough to stop the condition from progressing. Wearing a shoe with a large toe box will reduce the pressure on the toe, and you will probably have to give up wearing high heels. Your doctor may recommend that you get a stiff-soled shoe with a rocker or roller bottom design and possibly even a steel shank or metal brace in the sole. This type of shoe supports the foot when you walk and reduces the amount of bend in the big toe. 
A contrast bath uses alternating cold and hot water to reduce inflammation. You'll need two buckets, one with water as cold as you can tolerate and the other with water as warm as you can tolerate. Immerse your foot in the cold water for 30 seconds, then immediately place it in the hot water for 30 seconds. Continue to alternate between cold and hot for five minutes, ending in the cold water. 

You can do contrast baths up to three times a day. However, be careful to avoid extreme temperatures in the water, especially if your feet aren't very sensitive to heat or cold. 

Surgical Treatment:

Cheilectomy (kI-lek'-toe-me) 
This surgery is usually recommended when damage is mild or moderate. It involves removing the bone spurs as well as a portion of the foot bone, so the toe has more room to bend. The incision is made on the top of the foot. The toe and the operative site may remain swollen for several months after the operation, and you will have to wear a wooden-soled sandal for at least two weeks after the surgery. But most patients do experience long-term relief.  

Arthrodesis (are-throw-dee'-sis)  
Fusing the bones together (arthrodesis) is often recommended when the damage to the cartilage is severe. The damaged cartilage is removed and pins, screws, or a plate are used to fix the joint in a permanent position. Gradually, the bones grow together. This type of surgery means that you will not be able to bend the toe at all. However, it is the most reliable way to reduce pain in these severe cases.

For the first six weeks after surgery, you will have to wear a cast and then use crutches for about another six weeks. You won't be able to wear high heels, and you may need to wear a shoe with a rocker-type sole.

Arthroplasty (are-throw-plas'-tee) 
Older patients who place few functional demands on the feet may be candidates for joint replacement surgery. The joint surfaces are removed and an artificial joint is implanted. This procedure may relieve pain and preserve joint motion.