How to Apply Kinesiology Tape

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape

Click for Printable Version. Kinesiology tape is water resistant, yet breathable, allowing it to be worn for exercise, showering, or swimming. It dries quickly and seldom causes skin irritation. When properly applied, most kinesiology tape applications will last from 3-5 days. If you follow these tips on how to apply kinesiology tape, you will get the most benefit from each application.

Preparing the Skin

Skin should be completely dry and free of any lotions or oils. Wipe the entire area with rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer or a pre-taping product like RockSauce. Apply tape at least 1 hour before sweating, swimming or showering. If applying after exercise, ensure that perspiration has completely stopped before applying tape. Small amounts of body hair will not interfere with the effectiveness or adhesion of the tape. Areas with significant amounts of hair should be clipped close to the skin for best results – and for less pain when tape is removed!

Preparing and Applying the Tape

General - K-tape can only be applied once, so avoid touching the adhesive side of the tape. To avoid skin irritation, the ends of each strip should be applied with no stretch. Make sure all ends are applied to skin, not to other pieces of tape. After applying, rub tape briskly from the center to the ends to activate the adhesive. Do not rub from the ends toward the center, or you may cause the ends to peel away from the skin. Cut tape with sharp scissors, being sure to round all corners to prevent ends from peeling prematurely. Tear the backing 2-3” from one end to create an ‘anchor’– the first part that will be applied. Apply the anchor end with no stretch in the tape, leaving the rest of the backing intact. Continue peeling the backing away in small segments as you apply the tape. Removing too much backing at one time can result in tape sticking to itself, and ruining the application. Precut Applications - Tear the backing at every serrated line before applying tape. Carefully follow instructions from product package, video or instruction manual. Precut Strips – some brands have a serrated backing to create Y or edema strips, but others do not. If the backing is not serrated, fold it along cut lines, then tear carefully before removing. Apply anchor end, then remove backing from one section at a time and apply.

Wearing the Tape

Try to keep clothing or equipment from rubbing on the ends of the tape. To dry tape that has become wet, pat gently with a towel. Do not use a hair dryer – the adhesive is heat-activated, and may become difficult to remove. Any ends that begin to peel can be trimmed with scissors to prevent further peeling.


Do not apply kinesiology tape on any skin surface that is damaged – this includes scrapes, cuts, burns, sunburn or any type of rash or irritation. Individuals with sensitive skin should apply a test piece for up to 24 hours before a full taping. If skin irritation occurs, remove tape immediately. Do not overstretch the tape, especially at the ends. When the ends of the tape are applied to the skin with stretch, they can pull on the skin and cause rashes or even blistering.

Dealing with Skin Irritation

Kinesiology tape is made from cotton with a hypoallergenic acrylic adhesive. It contains no latex or medications, decreasing the likelihood of skin irritation. Individuals with extremely sensitive skin, however, may still experience rash, itching or irritation. There are also special gentle adhesive tapes available for those with sensitive or fragile skin. In addition, the following products have been reported to minimize skin irritation when applied and allowed to dry prior to tape application: Benadryl® Itch Stopping Gel, Maalox® or Tens Clean Coat Skin Wipes.

Removing Kinesiology TapeRemoving the Tape

Remove tape in the direction of hair growth, which is usually away from the center of the body on the trunk, and in a downward direction on the arms or legs. To minimize discomfort, press the skin at the end of the taped area while gently peeling tape back. Tape that is still strongly adhered to skin may be loosened by soaking with baby oil, vegetable oil or Perform-Lift Adhesive Remover for 5-10 minutes before removing.

 If Tape Won’t Stick

Check that all skin and tape preparation and application guidelines above were followed. It can be difficult to get tape to stick well on areas that sweat heavily, like the soles of the feet. Areas that are rubbed by clothing or equipment, or receive repeated body contact are also hard to get tape to stick to, despite the best precautions. In these cases, an adhesive spray such as Kramer Tuf Skin can be used to help tape stick. Spray lightly where tape will end, wait until area is tacky, then apply tape. Buy Kinesiology Tape  

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape

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