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Why do Olympic athletes use coloured tapes on their body

A look into the Kinesio tapes used by the athletes in The Olympics.

News 02 Aug 2016, 15:39 IST
Why do athletes wear tapes on their body?

The world’s biggest sporting event is starting this week. Yes, The Olympics is finally here. The city of Rio in Brazil will be the center of attraction for the next few weeks.

Here, in this article we look into something widely used by athletes. They come in colours of blue, green, and orange. Yes, we’re speaking of the tapes that the athletes use on their thighs, shoulders and other parts of the body that endure stress while playing a sport.

The simple looking tape is called kinesiology tapes. Their special function is that they help in giving rest to stressed muscles in the body. The physiotherapist of a player identifies the start and end point of their muscles in labs. The ends of the muscles are tied together with kinesiology tapes which help the muscles by relieving it of excess stress.

It does so by limiting the movement further. In the process, it lifts the skin even if the athlete is going through his or her daily training schedules. The tape allows a range for motion up to a limit to injure the athlete further. In most cases, if you are in the middle of an event, for stabilization purposes, the tension strength in the tape will be stronger.

Here’s a little history on the development of Kinesio tape. In Japan, Dr. Kenzo Kase was responsible for the Kinesio taping method way back in the year 1979. Dr. Kase is a chiropractor, an acupuncturist and moxibustion therapist. Since then, it has widespread to every nook and corner of the world.

Kinesio tape is made of 100% elastic fibers that are latex free. A noticeable wave-like pattern can be observed, which is purposely put on the tape to mimic fingerprints and allows the tape to allow air to pass through. The tape itself only stretches conveniently, unidirectional on the longitudinal axis.

Cyclists use kinesio tapes on stress points like knees, thighs and arms

A major brand which sells has described the usage of the product with the following words, “Alleviate discomfort and facilitate lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. The specially designed tape can be applied over muscles to reduce pain and inflammation, relax overused or tired muscles, and support their movement on a day-to-day basis.”

Indian athletes have been no exception in using this tape. Yogeshwar Dutt and Judoka Arvinda Singh have been using this tape for some time now. With each passing edition of the Olympics, advancement of the game in terms of technology and science is happening, the previous generations of players surely wish they had these facilities during their heydays.

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