Kinesiotaping for Medial Instability

The following is a guest post by physical therapist Jeff Lam, MSPT, CSCS of MoveWell Physical Therapy.  In the following article Jeff discusses the use of the popular Kinesiotaping in the area of athletics.  Jeff also provided a video demonstration of how to tape an ankle to treat medial instability.


Kinesiotaping for Medial Instability

By Jeff Lam, MSPT, CSCS

Gaining respect one application at a time; you will see more and more athletes using this form of tape, called Kinesiotape, during training, practice, and competition. Case in point, Ray Lewis’ torn triceps in his farewell season, Kerri Walsh in beach volleyball at last summer’s Olympic Games, and more recently numerous athletes showcased at the NFL combine.

Keri Walsh Tape

Since attending coursework in The Kinesiotaping Method (KT1: Fundamental Concepts of the Kinesiotaping Method & KT2: Advanced Concepts & Corrective Techniques) back in February of this year, I have discovered a new adjunct to my rehabilitation approach. Let’s just say, without sounding too cliché, another tool for the ever growing tool bag. This can also be viewed as a continuation in the lower extremity series that began in an earlier Rise Above newsletter, January 2013.

Without going much into it, because I can have the folks at Kinesiotape ( provide the full details, I just want to highlight the finer points of how Kinesiotape can help. With proper & professional application of the latex-free/100% cotton/non-medicinal elastic tape, injuries can be prevented and tissues can return to their homeostatic state earlier. The tape can be used at any stage of rehabilitation, including acute, subacute, and chronic.

Here, I want to highlight a case study of a patient I am seeing in a subacute phase. A 35 year old ex-NCAA UCLA Bruin soccer player who recently fractured her ankle in an intramural game, specifically a Weber B fracture of the right distal fibula with complete rupture of the ipsilateral deltoid ligament. The ORIF surgery to the right ankle was performed on 11/2 by Dr. Kirstina Olson, Chief of Foot & Ankle Surgery at the UCSF Ortho Institute.

Fastforward 15 weeks later to the present where rehabilitation includes light jogging, proprioception, and sport specific drills to return to soccer. One thing to highlight with my patient here is the deltoid ligament was not corrected during the procedure, causing some precarious medial instability and overpronation. In this specific instance, I used two techniques, one for the metatarsal arch and one designed for a medial ankle sprain. Both techniques can be seen applied in the video presentation below.

Again, keep in mind this is just tape and even an error in application technique will only provide a false sense of relief (Kinesio verbage: “inhibition”) or security (Kinesio’s verbage: “facilitation”). It may even have a placebo effect.


Of the myriad of techniques I have already learned, there are some techniques I personally feel are less effective if not ineffective. So like any clinician, I will pick and choose wisely. This is no miracle tape, it does not necessarily enhance athletic performance, nor is it athletic tape which has its time and place. For my soccer play, I found that rehabilitative Kinesiotape provided just the right amount of facilitation for her to confidently complete the soccer-based lateral and hopping drills I’d designed that day, almost immediately. For others, it may provide a sense of security for the recovering athlete and may open up their confidence to perform better in their respective sports.


Jeff Lam works at MoveWell Physical Therapy in San Francisco and is currently seeking certification as a Kinesiotape practicioner (CKTP). He received his degree in physical therapy from Columbia University in New York City. His relationship with Doug Fioranelli at Rise Above Performance Training dates back to their days as Exercise & Sport Science students from the University of San Francisco, NCAA Division I collegiate cross country teammates for the Dons, and numerous pre-sunrise roadtrips to triathlon events throughout Northern California.

Jeff would like to hear from you about interests in future topics.

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