Pain in the upper arm, near the shoulder region is commonly reported by individuals who indulge in repetitive motion of the arm. Neglecting this pain could lead to a more serious injury, bicep tendonitis. The bicep muscle in our arm is held together in place by tendons that connect it to the shoulder bone in the top and radius at the bottom. Sportsmen such as baseball, basketball and golf players who have to deal with extensive use of their upper arm for repeated motions are continuously at risk of injuring a tendon. Kinesio taping can offer an affordable solution with its various bicep taping techniques.
What is biceps tendinitis?
The tendons connecting the bicep muscle (responsible for the curling motion) on both the ends, shoulder (upper) and elbow (lower), tend to get irritated or inflamed due to rigorous repetitive motion. Biceps tendinitis is generally observed on the upper part of your arm, in the shoulder region but there have been cases of tendinitis in the elbow region too. It causes pain in the front of the shoulder making it difficult to move. The pain in the shoulder is peaks during sleeping hours and during waking up. The tendons might also get torn while lifting heavy objects or trauma to the shoulder, interfering in normal function.
How kinesio taping can help?
The unique elastic properties of the kinesio tape have been regularly employed by therapists for relief and prevention from tendonitis. Athletes, who have to deal with repeated overhead motion, wear kinesio tapes to accelerate healing process from trauma, injuries and inflammation. A normal kinesio tape lasts for around five days while covering the injured area 24/7 giving therapeutic benefits. The injured tendons find support through the stretched tape increasing range of motion for patients.
Taping technique (done by your therapist)
The taping technique will involve placing two Y shaped kinesio strips of variable length along the length of the bicep muscle and the shoulder bone. Taping should begin with focus on the bicep muscle as it is the primary tissue in this injury which needs to be treated. Place the base of the Y strip 2 inches below the radial head (below the elbow cavity on the front part of your arm). The strip is to be placed without any tension along its length. The applied strip is now modified for the lateral tail to follow the outside edge of the long head of the bicep (outer part of the bicep) to the supraglenoid tuberosity (origin of the bicep muscle in the shoulder). The medial tail of the strip is then stretched across the short head of the bicep till the coracoids process of the scapula (a small hook-like structure in the shoulder blade). Once this placement is done, lay both the ends down with no tension and initiate the glue process. Make sure patient doesn’t initiate any movement before glue application.
Another smaller Y shaped tape might also be applied over the injured shoulder for mechanical correction and assisting in the bicep muscle positioning.
The benefits of kinesio taping the bicep muscle have been proved in the recently released study by Giancarlo Fratocchi and colleagues. If your work involves frequent overhead movements, kinesio taping is a safe and effective method for injury prevention.