DIY Kinesio Taping for shoulder impingement pain - Be My Healer

DIY Kinesio Taping for shoulder impingement pain

By Sophie Xie / January 11, 2017
shoulder impingement taping

Shoulder impingement pain can be hard to live with, especially when you have works to be done.

Sport taping, or kinesiotaping, may help you to stabilize shoulder joint, allowing more activities with less irritations and pain.

While wearing the sports tape (kinesiotape), the skin adhesion also stimulate the tactile sensation on your skin, cueing and training your body to stay in a better posture as well.​

A little about the sport tapes

The most well know tapes are Kinesio tapes, and they are the tapes you will need for the shoulder impingement taping. 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. I used KT tapes for the photos in this post.

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 shoulder impingement

You will need two pieces of tapes, each about 3-4 inches long unstretched. If you are the one with painful impinged shoulder, you will also need a helper to place on the tape for you.

Tape one - for supraspinatus stabilization

The first tape will go over the irritated supraspinatus muscle. The muscle is located on the top of the shoulder blade and anchor on the top of the shoulder joint. 

spine of scapular
  • The patient will sit in a good posture with a bare shoulder.
  • The helper will identify the spine of the shoulder blade. The supraspinatus muscle is located on the top of the bony spine. [See picture]
  • While the help prepare the tape (rounding corners and tear the paper backs), the patient should pull his/her shoulders back by squeeze the shoulder blades in and down. Hold this position until the taping is done.
  • THe helper will lay down one end of the tape unstretched on the top of the shoulder joint. 
  • Then gently stretch the middle portion of the tape by 15-25%, and lay it down over the supraspinatus muscle.
  • The other end of the tape should be place down unstretched towards the back.
  • Finally, use fingers to rub over the tape to activate the adhesion.
shoulder impingement tape one

Tape two - for shoulder blade stabilization

THe purpose of the second tape is to prevent excessive elevation and rotation of the shoulder blade. 

  • THe patient will sit in a good posture with a bare shoulder
  • THe helper will locate the bony acromion (top of the shoulder blade bone, roof of the shoulder joint)[See picture]
  • While the help prepare the tape (rounding corners and tear the paper backs), the patient should pull his/her shoulders back by squeeze the shoulder blades in and down. Hold this position until the taping is done.
  • The helper can lay down one of the tape unstretched over the acromion. 
  • Then stretch the middle portion of the tape to 80-100% and place it diagonally across the shoulder blade pointing towards the inner lower corner. 
  • Finish by placing the other end of the tape down unstretched pointing towards the spine.
  • Finally, use fingers to rub over the tape to activate the adhesion.
shoulder impingement tape two1
shoulder impingement tape two2

​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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