Let’s be honest; getting through menopause should be a celebratory time for women. Unfortunately, post-menopausal women are at a heightened risk to experience the uncomfortable reality of venous insufficiency, a type of vascular problem where blood pools in the legs due to poor venous circulation, leading to swelling and pain. Venous insufficiency is found predominantly in women who are older, have had a larger number of pregnancies, lead a sedentary lifestyle and/or have experienced weight gain. Venous insufficiency can result in:
- Perception of heaviness
- Nocturnal cramps
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Edema & swelling
Classic interventions such as exercise and compression wear have been used to curb some of these side effects, but the need for a modern, effective prevention and treatment method has grown in recent years. Researchers Aguilar-Ferrandiz and colleagues set out to meet the growing demand for the physiotherapy care of these patients (Aguilar-Ferrandiz, et al. 2014).
Their study hypothesis was that kinesiology taping would have positive effects on chronic mild to moderate venous insufficiency in post-menopausal women
Getting to the bottom of venous insufficiency treatment
120 postmenopausal women with mild or moderate chronic venous insufficiency between 50 and 75 years old were randomly assigned to an experimental kinesiology tape group or to a placebo-control group. Baseline data were collected, noting the participants state of:
- Venous symptoms
- Peripheral venous flow
- Severity of venous disease
- Overall health status
- Venous symptoms
- Heaviness perception
- Sensation of swelling
- Muscle cramps and pruritus
After a month, these measures were taken again to compare the results of the kinesiology taping group and the placebo group. Amazingly, Aguilar-Ferrandiz and colleagues yielded amazing results through the kinesiology taping-group:
- Decreased heaviness, venous claudication, swelling, muscle cramps, pain rating index and extracellular water
- Increased physical function, venous refill time and venous pump power values
What was the magical taping technique that helped these participants?
How to kinesiology tape the let to relieve venous insufficiency symptoms
The researchers applied this kinesiology taping technique three times a week during a four-week period.
- To start, place the patient in prone position.
- Apply one Y-shaped strip on the medial gastrocnemius and another on the lateral gastrocnemius at tensions ranging from 15% to 50%. Leaving the ends of the strips tension-free.
- In order to stimulate dorsi flexion, place the patient in supine position for functional correction of the ankle
- Measure and cut an I-strip at maximum dorsiflexion and apply with 50% tension.
- Place two pieces of tape with 50% tension at malleolar level in order to exert peripheral venous compression.
The placebo group was given an identical number of strips of the same material, but there was no tension on the tape with incorrect anatomical localizations.
The authors concluded that a short-term mixed kinesiology taping model improves the degree of venous reflux and peripheral edema in postmenopausal females with mild chronic venous insufficiency (Aguilar-Ferrandiz, et al. 2014).
Aguilar-Ferrandiz, et al. 2014. A randomized controlled trial of a mixed Kinesio taping compression technique on venous symptoms, pain, peripheral venous flow, clinical severity and overall health status in postmenopausal women with chronic venous insufficiency Clinical Rehabilitation 28(1):69-81