Physio Tape, K Tape, Athletic Tape – What’s the Difference?

Physio TapePhysio Tape and K Tape are different names for the same thing – a colorful therapeutic tape that has revolutionized the world of athletic taping. More commonly known as kinesiology tape, it first appeared on a handful of athletes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but by the time the 2012 Olympics in London came around, a majority of competitors were wearing it.

Much more than just a fashion statement, K Tape is used to help athletes recover more quickly from injuries by  relieving pain, reducing inflammation, supporting muscles and encouraging proper movement patterns.

What is it that makes Physio Tape so special? As the following comparison will show, K Tape differs from traditional athletic tape in virtually every aspect of both form and function.

K TapeAppearance
Athletic tape is generally white, 2″ wide, and comes in rolls of varying length. Physio tape, on the other hand, is available in a rainbow of colors and patterns and comes in a wide variety of sizes and formats, including uncut rolls, precut strips of varying lengths and precut applications for specific body parts.

Regular sports tape is rigid and  immobilizes the area it is applied to. K tape, on the other hand, is very stretchy, allowing muscles and joints to move through a normal, safe range of motion when applied.

Wear Time
Because it constricts tissues and limits circulation, rigid athletic tape must be removed immediately after activity or the underlying tissues could be damaged. The light, elastic makeup of physio tape allows it to be worn comfortably for days at a time – typically 3-5 days per application.

Physio Tape Calf and HamstringMethod of Application
Traditional athletic tape is wrapped tightly around a joint or muscle group, providing compression and stabilization. Conversely, K Tape is applied directly over an injured area or around the boundaries of a muscle group. The lifting effect of the tape on the skin actually decompresses the underlying area,

Goal of Taping
Taping with conventional sports tape is designed to immobilize and stabilize joints as they heal. They severely restrict range of motion with the goal of preventing further damage to an injured joint while it heals. Physio taping is designed to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief and support, while allowing athletes to continue training and/or competing as their injuries heal.

Where to Buy Physio Tape or K Tape
Despite its popularity, only a limited selection of physio tapes are available in retail stores. A wider variety of brands and formats are available online. The leading online retailer of K Tape is, a website specializing in Physio Tape, K Tape and kinesiology tape. In addition to a complete line of  physio taping products, Theratape also offers the Theratape Education Center, the most complete collection of kinesiology taping information, videos and instructions.

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