Last week I was contacted by a firm who represents Dynamic Tape and it’s creator, Ryan Kendrick, asking if I’d like to try it out and offering me the opportunity to try it out and personally interview Ryan. Naturally I said yes, especially after I checked out the website, watched a few videos, and learned a little about Dynamic Tape.
Unlike rigid tapes, which are designed to hold a muscle or joint in place, Dynamic Tape allows the wearer to move through a full range of motion, but with strong bio-mechanical assistance. Because of its highly elastic properties and its unique 4-way stretch, Dynamic Tape can actually assist movement.
How does it work? Let’s talk to Ryan and find out. Ryan Kendrick is a Musculoskelatel Physiotherapist from Australia, though when I spoke to him he was several hundred miles away on an island in the South Pacific. He has worked in the United Kingdom with cricket players and on the tennis circuit, where he helped Greg Rusedski overcome some injuries and get his game back on track. In the image gallery on the website, you can see photos of athletes ranging from Serena Williams and other 2012 Olympic athletes to surfers and rugby players using Dynamic Tape either to assist with injury or improve performance.
Working with athletes, Ryan realized that many of the injuries that he saw were overuse injuries, whether it was a tennis player injuring a shoulder, a runner with hip and knee injuries, or a cricketer with low back and hamstring strain. He would find when taping an athlete with regular sports tape, they would frequently return and complain that because of the rigidity of the tape they could not get into the proper position for their sport.
Thus the idea for Dynamic Tape was born. The elasticity in the tape is used like a bungee cord, so that it absorbs load, just like a bungee jumper when he jumps off a bridge, where you get that deceleration of movement, then that re-injection of movement as it recoils. As an example, Ryan said to imagine someone with a hamstring injury. By proper taping, the Dynamic Tape can first absorb some of the load by decelerating the movement during the extension of the knee, then assist the muscle itself by springing back when the knee is bent.
Ryan told of when first designing what he wanted, he and his team, who used Therabands in their physiotherapy, actually taped it to the patients to get the elastic effect they were looking for. He said that while that was fine in a clinical setting, you really couldn’t send athletes out on the field with Therabands taped to their arms and legs.
When asked about the use of Dynamic Tape on healthy athletes, Ryan said there were basically two ways to use it. One would be for technique correction. As an example, he spoke of a runner who tends to collapse at the hip, whose knees then tend to drop in. By winding the tape correctly up around the thigh and the back of the hip, it can actually help with the hip extension, and keep the hips in alignment so that the knees don’t drop in.
Then there is the performance enhancement capabilities of the Dynamic Tape. By assisting the muscle, the tape actually works like an additional muscle, absorbing some of the load, allowing the muscle to spring back, reducing fatigue and wear and tear. Ryan’s wife, who is also a physiotherapist and is an ultra runner, has, along with other runners, tried using the tape on one side only for long runs, reporting back that the untaped side became much more tired during the run, and was more sore afterwards than the taped side.
This triggered me to ask if they have made it illegal in any sports yet. Ryan laughed but stated that there is a question about how much benefit an uninjured athlete can receive by using the Dynamic Tape. The goal when using the tape is to absorb load, reduce pain, and improve body mechanics, which is exactly what certain shoes are designed to do. While shoes aren’t illegal, he admits that anything that does the above is performance enhancing. At this point, though, with a few exceptions, including swimming and boxing, there are no specific rules against using tape.
As Ryan discussed how the taped is used, with different techniques for each different sport and each different athlete with different goals, the need for a thorough assessment by a trained professional became obvious. I asked how I, as a coach and as an athlete myself, could make use of the Dynamic Tape. Basically, how a person who purchased the tape, say on Amazon.com, would know how to use it.
Ryan said that generally, a person with some kind of background in taping athletes, or knowledge of corrective therapy, could watch the videos, and with some trial and error figure out how to use the Dynamic Tape, particularly for an injury or inflammation. I found the videos very thorough in describing taping techniques, but also dependent upon knowing exactly what and why you are taping (see my self-taping experience below). Ryan states, though, that someone without any of that type of knowledge, particularly if they have an injury, would be better served to find someone who knows what they are doing, can assess their injury, and show them how to use the tape properly. This would be even more important when using the Dynamic Tape to correct a biomechnical imbalance.
There are certain injuries though, that one can learn to properly tape by watching the videos, including general knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints among a few others, making sure to follow directions regarding adhesion, the proper amount of stretch in the tape during application, and enough non-stretched tape at the anchor points. Properly applied, the tape will stay on for at least several days, depending on the body parts on which it is taped.
As to finding a trained therapist in your area, Ryan suggests contacting the distributor in your country, and through them finding the name of the representative in your area, then asking them who they would recommend. While there is training available on the use of Dynamic Tape, Ryan hesitates recommending someone just because they have taken the training, without knowing anything else about their qualifications.
Ryan reminded me that Dynamic Tape is another tool for therapists and athletes. It doesn’t replace rigid tape or kinesiotape, it complements and supplements them. In his practice, different types of tape are used, sometimes in conjunction with each other.
My final question was, what is the reason for the tattoo pattern on the tape? Ryan said there a couple of reasons. When the Dynamic Tape was first created, they were on another island in the South Pacific called Norfolk Island, which is about 1,000 miles east of Australia and known mostly for being where Mutiny on the Bounty was based. It is a tiny little island which relies heavily on tourism, which was struggling at the time. So in order to draw a little attention to Norfolk, and the artist, Tihoti, the tattoo pattern was used. But the main reason, according to Ryan, is that it just looks cool and different. It draws attention to the tape, leading people to ask questions about it. In fact, in spite of offering a beige on beige version of the tattoo pattern, which is much more discrete, the black tattoo pattern tends to sell four times as much.
After my interview with Ryan, and feeling somewhat confident after watching the videos, I decided to try my own tape job with Dynamic Tape. I suffer from plantar fasciitis, which is pretty mild at the moment, but I thought that would be a good start for me to practice. The video demonstrates how to tape to support the calf, achilles tendon, and the plantar fasciia, so I followed instructions and taped my right calf and foot.
I actually did this on Saturday night, so the adhesive had plenty of time to set. I did rub it well, as instructed, so the heat of my hand would help it stick. I went for a run on Saturday morning, proudly wearing my tape. Coco thinks that it looks pretty cool.
Did it help? I think it is probably too soon to tell. I did feel like my arch was more supported and I enjoyed the rebounding feeling when I flexed then pointed my foot. I also discovered that it does take practice to tape correctly and that it is difficult to tape yourself. I was also using the 3 inch wide tape, while the video was demonstrating using the 2 inch, which I think would have worked better. My next test will be on one of my cross country runners who has been suffering from shin splints.
For more information on Dynamic Tape you can check out the website, like their Facebook page, and follow on Twitter. You can buy it yourself on Amazon, or find a rep in your area to recommend a trained therapist.
I know that many of my reader are runners, and many have dealt with a variety of issues stemming from biomechanical dysfunctions. I urge you to do some research, talk to your physical therapists, and learn more about the benefits of Dynamic Tape. Like Ryan says, here is another tool to help you improve your form, heal your injury, and help your performance.
Disclosure: While I did receive a free roll of Dynamic Tape in exchange for this post, I was not compensated in any other way. I was impressed with the tape, and with its Dynamic creator, Ryan Kendrick. I am an Amazon Associate, so if you purchase Dynamic Tape through the link provided, I stand to make a few cents.