Kinesio Tape – More than Just a Summer Olympics Fashion Statement?

Along with their work-out attire, this year’s Olympic athletes have been sporting colorful tape.  Spectators have seen the images – strips in various shades running up, down and across the bodies of athletes. Curious to learn if this trend was more than a fashion statement, we asked one of our pediatric orthopedic surgeons, Dr. John Schlechter, who specializes in sports medicine, a few questions.

What’s the deal with that colorful tape we’re seeing on this year’s Olympic athletes?

That colorful tape is called Kinesio tape, and has actually been to the Olympics before.  Beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings, who just won her third gold medal, wore a colorful mesh pattern on her operated shoulder when she competed in Beijing four years ago. Now, during the London games, many athletes, especially divers, swimmers and volleyball players, have been seen with the tape.

Who developed it?

Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor, invented the method about 30 years ago when he started taping Sumo wrestlers to relieve their pain.

What is it used for?

Kinesio tape can be used for many reasons.  In some cases, it helps to relieve pain and inflammation. But more often in the Olympics, it is used to help stabilize injured joints or help to unload injured and aching muscles. The tape gives the athlete support for aching muscles that might hamper performance.

How is it different from other athletic tape?

Regular athletic tape is rigid and does not move with the athlete. It’s better used when you need to stop motion. Kinesio tape, on the other hand, stretches in one direction and then as it’s stretched, it snaps back like a rubber band.  That’s how it is used to help the muscles and joints, and why it’s also popular with athletes.  It allows the athlete to move with less pain.

Is there a special technique for applying the tape?

There is a special technique for applying the tape.  It’s best to learn from an athletic trainer or physical therapist.

Where can people get the tape?

Most sporting goods stores carry various kinesio tape options.

Dr. John Schlechter is a board certified pediatric orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopy for children and adolescents. He is an active part of the clinical faculty for the Western University of Health Sciences and serves as the team physician for several local high schools. Learn more about CHOC’s Orthopaedic Institute.

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CHOC Sports Medicine Program Opens Irvine Office

With year-round sports participation and an intense competitive environment, Orange County’s young athletes are at greater risk for injury, particularly overuse syndrome.

Comprehensive sports physical therapy services are now available much closer to home for South Orange County athletes. The CHOC Children’s Sports Medicine Program has opened a new office in Irvine to provide sports medicine physical therapy for school-age children and precollegiate teens.

“We are addressing the many issues associated with competitive youth sports, including preseason screening for injury prevention, nutrition, sports psychology and physical rehabilitation,” says CHOC Children’s pediatric orthopaedic surgeon John Schlechter, D.O. “Our goal is to work in conjunction with primary care physicians in order to provide the best care for athletes.”

The CHOC Children’s Sports Medicine Program, the only one of its kind in Orange County, is supported by CHOC cardiologists, pulmonologists, allergists, neurologists and neurosurgeons.

To learn more about the services available through the CHOC Children’s Sports Medicine Program in Orange and Irvine, please call 714-289-4054 or click here: http://www.choc.org/orthopaedics/index.cfm?id=P00184.

The CHOC Children’s Sports Medicine Program Irvine office is located at 980 Roosevelt, Suite 100.

Safety Tips For Your Little Athlete

Before you head out to your little one’s game this weekend, check out these safety tips recommended by CHOC Children’s, in recognition of Youth Sports Safety Month:

• Make sure your child keeps hydrated.
• Have your child wear the proper gear for their sport.
• Don’t forget the sunscreen.
• Ensure that your child warms up before the game.
• Remind your son or daughter to treat other athletes and coaches with respect.
• Encourage good sportsmanship; emphasize learning and being part of a team are more important than winning.
• Check with coaches to make sure the team/program has emergency protocols in place.
• Most importantly, remind them to have fun!

Check out other sports safety guidelines. 

Learn more about the CHOC Children’s Sports Medicine Program.

Keep Your Little Athletes Safe

Did you know April is Youth Sports Safety Month? The national campaign focuses public attention on the prevalent problem of high injury rates in youth sports and promotes safety in sports participation.

While sports injuries are common, making sure your child is prepared can help prevent some of the most common ones. Football is the one CHOC Children’s sees the most injuries from, according to John Schlechter, D.O., a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at CHOC.  The most common injuries we see are strains, sprains, bumps and simple bone fractures, he says.

He and the team of doctors at the CHOC Children’s Orthopaedic Institute also treat more serious injuries, such as shoulder dislocation, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and concussions.

Many of these injuries are from overuse and overtraining, so it’s important for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of overtraining, Dr. Schlechter explains. These symptoms include:

  • Poor performance
  • Not meeting training goals
  • Not wanting to practice
  • Getting tired easily
  • Being irritable or not wanting to cooperate

Playing a sport more than 20 hours a week can increase the risk for injury. Dr. Schlechter also stresses the importance of wearing protective gear and drinking plenty of fluids when playing sports. But above all, parents should listen to their children. If your child feels too tired, hurt or ill to play, let him or her sit on the sidelines, Dr. Schlechter says.

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