DIY Kinesio taping for relieving rotator cuff injury pain - Be My Healer

DIY Kinesio taping for relieving rotator cuff injury pain

By Sophie Xie / January 13, 2017
rotator cuff taping

If you have injury in the rotator cuff muscles, you are faced with a long recovery process. At the mean time, you have life to live and works to be done.

One of the best ways to prevent worsening of pain and injury is to apply sports tapes or kinesio tapes before doing shoulder-heavy works.

The tapes are able to stabilize your joints and activate/relax muscles from tactile cues. Although the tapes are not the cure for shoulder injury, they are definitely a great help on a busy day. In addition, they can also be great assistance in the process of recovery.

A little about the tape

The most well know tapes are Kinesio tapes. The commonly used brand used in the most professional settings, such as physical therapy clinic, sports medicine clinic, or chiropractor clinic, is the original Kinesio Tex founded by the original inventor of kinesiology taping Dr. Kenso.

Over the years, other brands of sports tapes with similar qualities are also available in the markets. Among them, KT tape has become the easiest accessible sports tape to the mass public, available in local drug stores. The taping shown in the photo in this post are done by KT tapes.

Despite being highly effective, sports taping can get expensive really fast. To keep my families' taping cost in control, I bought some knockoff brand Kinesio tapes. To my surprise, they work just as great, with equivalent stretchiness and adhesiveness with the actual Kinesio Tex costing only half of their price. It is definitely worth a try. If you experience quality issues with these new or knockoff brand tapes, please leave me comments so that I can take off this recommendation.

Basic taping techniques

Clean your skin before applying any tapes to make sure that each tape will stay on as long as possible. Lotion, sun block or sweat can diminish the tape's adhesive ability. Body hair is another issue some people need to consider addressing if applying tapes repetitively for recovery or sports performance.

There are four things to remember when DIY Kinesio taping for any body parts.

kinesio tape rounded corner
  • Round the corners - if you do not wish to re-apply the tapes every couple of hours, you want to take a few seconds to cut the corners off. Sharp edges tend to get caught on cloth or in action, causing the entire piece of tape to peel off prematurely. (Some brands sell precut pieces with already rounded corners for higher price.)
  • Tear the paper 1-2 inches away from each end- You can tear the paper easily without damaging the tape itself. Once you made two tears, one close to each end of the tape, you have separated the paper side to three portions - the large middle portions and two smaller pieces to the side.
kinesio tape tear two end
kinesio tape tear paper
  • Stretch the larger middle portion - Once you are ready for the tape to go on, peel off the middle paper protection and hold the tape by the two ends where the paper is still in place. Stretch the tape fully to 100% and release some. Then lay down the tape, while stretched, over the injured body part.
  • Leave 1-2 inches of an unstretched anchor on each end - The magic of the Kinesio tapes are largely related to the stretchiness of the tape. However, the two ends of each tape should be laid down flat to help the tape stay in place.

Taping for rotator cuff injury

you need three(3) pieces of tapes this time, each 7-8 inches long.

complete rotator cuff tape

Tape one

RC tape one position
  • Position the arm behind back if possible.
  • Peel off the paper on one end, and anchor that end to the end of the deltoid.
  • Then peel off the paper on the middle portion, stretch the tape to about 50% and lay it down towards the front of the shoulder by making a half circle
  • Last, place down the other end of the tape on the top of the shoulder with no stretch at all.
rotator cuff tape one 1
rotator cuff tape one 2

Tape two

  • Position the arm in front of the chest, with hand holding on to the other shoulder
  • Peel off the paper on one end, and anchor that end to the end of deltoid, on top of the first tape
  • Then peel off the paper on the middle portion, stretch the tape to about 50% and lay it down towards the back of the shoulder by making a half circle
  • Last, place down the other end of the tape on the top of the shoulder with no stretch at all.
rotator cuff tape two 1
rotator cuff tape two 2

Tape three

  • Position the arm down in neutral
  • Peel off the paper on one end, and anchor that end to the end of deltoid, slightly below the starting point of the first two tapes
  • Then peel off the paper on the middle portion, stretch the tape to about 50%. Lay down the tape towards the top of the shoulder and along the top of the spine of the shoulder blade bone.
  • Last, place down the other end of the tape at the base of the neck 
rotator cuff tape three 1
rotator cuff tape three 2

Remember to rub the tape with your hand and fingers until the generated heat activates the adhesion on the tape so that they will stick very good.

Sports tapes and kinesio tapes are generally very comfortable and gentle on the skin. However, they will gradually lose their elasticity and function.

Some people have more "slippery" skin than others, and the tapes will peel off natural after a day or two. If not, remove them gently after 72 hours of wear.

Remember NOT to rip the tape off the skin forcefully. ​

​If you experience itching or skin irritations, do not repeat the taping until directed by doctor.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful.

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