Which is better? Why would you bother using tape that stretches?
In the last six years, the increase in prevalence of the new elastic Kinesio-tape and Rock-Tape method has been amazing. This is due almost entirely to a MASSIVE donation of this type of tape to over 50 countries in the 2008 olympics by the parent company. With such an increase in exposure, interest was bound to be generated in the sports medecine community.
Peer-reviewed journal articles comparing the efficacy of this type of taping are scarce, particularly those of high-quality and power of comparison, however the general consensus is that both types of taping show reduction of pain from conditions like patella maltracking, shoulder instability, ankle instability, plantar fasciitis and others. There is not, as yet a clear indication of which is more effective, and this could be due to the lack of standardisation for the methods of applying tape, therefore the efficacy is dependent on the skill of the person applying the tape.
The rationale for taping a joint or body part is simple; improve stability, and reduce pain. To improve stability, we need to be able to reduce certain ranges of movement, and improve muscular function around the part. Both Kinesio and Rigid offer improved proprioception (position sense, due to increase feed back from skin), and therefore improve muscular support; only the rigid taping method can really reduce joint movement, since the Kinesio method applies elastic tape, which stretches readily.
In our opinion, if you need tape, then you need rigid tape.