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1302 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Oct 7, 2011 6:05 PM by JamesJohnsonLMT
SJRUN Expert 55 posts since
May 3, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 7, 2011 7:00 AM

K Tape - Good, bad or ugly?

So what is the consensus on K Tape?   I don't really understand how it helps or works, but I'm interested.


I have some occasional recurring knee issues....runners knee or tendonitis or the plague...I don't know, but just some soreness, sometimes on long runs and after.  Right now it's manifesting itself as what feels like a wee bit of tendonitis in the gracilis or hamstring tendon.  Not terrible, but wouldn't want it to get exacerbated.


Anyway, was thinking of tryin K Tape on a half-marathon tune-up I'm doing. 


Is it good for this kind of thing?  What's the story on this stuff?


Thanks for any help.

"If you think you will fail or that you will succeed, you'll be right."

Recent and Upcoming Races:

New York NY - ING NY Marathon, Nov. 6, 2011 - Finish time 4:53:24

  • MouseRN Pro 135 posts since
    Feb 15, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Oct 7, 2011 1:23 PM (in response to SJRUN)
    Re: K Tape - Good, bad or ugly?

    I've been waylaid by ITBS in the knees and hips for the past 3 weeks and started using KT tape last Saturday. Here's what I've found:


    1) Proper application, regarding adhesion, is paramount. The first time I used it was just before a 5K...simply applied the tape as instructed in the videos...the adhesion wasn't great but it did last through the run (under neoprene knee supports). A lot of edges and ends came loose and I ended up having to just take it all off. The support was okay but I think it would have been much better if I was able to get it to stick better. By the second application using only alcohol to prep the area the support was much better but the tape came loose during an aqua aerobics class and had to be removed. On the third application, the adhesion was MUCH better as was the support...enough so that I didn't wear my knee supports for a 6 mile run or any of my Zumba classes. This application surriveved 2-3 daily showers plus a 50 min aqua aerobics class with only some edges lifting and a few ends curling up. I did have to remove some shorter pieces that had minimal skin contact but that was it. I only took it off Thursday night (had reapplied Tues morning) to allow my skin some breathing space since I don't have any strenuous activities today...I'll be reapplying tonight and I think I've got the technique down so that it will last 3-5 days.


    2) How I apply:

    • Clean area with alcohol (I've read that skin/facial astringents work even better).
    • Apply heating pad to area to warm the skin.
    • Apply tape and rub each piece vigorously using some of the tape backing to aid in adhesion.
    • Apply the heating pad for good measure


    3) How I "re-stick" loose ends/edges:

    • Apply a thin coating of tincture of benzoin (a skin prep used medically to aid in adhesion of tape/bandages) to the area. This will leave a brown film on the skin.
    • Rub tape back down while applying heat with a blow dryer.


    4) Hints I haven't tried:

    • I've read that Milk of Magnesia (MOM) as a skin prep also works.
    • Skin/facial astringents supposedly work even better than plain alcohol.


    5) Hints I've figured out:

    • Heat is a MUST.
    • Be sure to NOT have tension on the anchor ends which should be at least 1" but 2" is better especially if there is minimal skin contact other than the anchor points.
    • Practice using it several times before using it at an event. It does take time to learn to apply and to find what works for you.


    I hope this helps.

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,291 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Oct 7, 2011 6:05 PM (in response to SJRUN)
    K Tape - Good, bad or ugly?

    Excellent application notes from the RN..


    Regarding your original question, I'm not sure if there is an athletic K-Tape (there is one for pinstriping and fabric repair), but there is the original "Kinesio Tape" developed by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase in the 1980s, and a competitor "KT-Tape," which may have pioneered precut application strips. There is also Rock Tape and SpiderTech out there, with more probably to come.


    Consensus is still developing, but among professional and Olympic athletes it has made quite a splash over recent years. As MouseRN says, the trick is to apply it correctly. Kinesio is so concerned about this aspect of the products use, that it offers courses to certify Kinesio Tape Providers, who then include CKTP along with their other professional credentials, like DC, RN, LMT, etc. The reason is that you can waste a lot of tape experimenting, and you certainly don't want anyone experimenting on you before an important sporting event, like a marathon, that you probably trained very hard for. Nevertheless, like MouseRN, I have experimented and achieved the results I wanted with the stuff.


    These elastic, breathable, water-resistant athletic tapes are designed to do two things: (1) Pucker the skin in order to increase lymphatic flow underneath, and (2) provide a means of moving the skin over an injury to accomplish the same stimulating effect by providing mild - but stretchable - restraint to the skin. Unlike conventional athletic tape, these tapes are not designed to bind, compress, or confine. Their elasticity is a bit like an Ace bandage, with the added feature of adhesive backing, so it is positioned right on the skin, near or over the sight of an injury, tendon, joint, or muscle that may need a boost in healing potential. It's like having a therapist on your skin while you are moving, mobilizing the lymphatic system over the healing site. According to Kase, 80% of the lymphatic system is right under the skin, and able to be activated by these tapes, particularly during movement, when it is arguably needed most. Even while sleeping, the tape can be applied in such a way as to deflect and pucker the skin in a beneficial way.


    Regarding MouseRN's experience with adhesive failure, certain skin types wil probably hold onto it better than others. There may also be differences in adhesive qualities between these two manufacturers. It is good to know there are products readily available to healthcare providers for improving adhesion, and there is also a spray available from Kinesio for improving this aspect of tape application.


    The "anchor" is the portion of tape that is put down first, with no stretch applied so it can bond and move more closely with the skin. Depending on the application, a mild stretch will be applied to the remainder to achieve the skin-puckering effect. These tapes are often cut or split to produce different patterns around the area being treated, to focus the movement of the skin in a way that is most conducive to the healing effect. KT's precut segments are also pre-split for this purpose.


    I had a CKTP apply my first treatment for my IT Band a few years back, and simply imitated his application after I bought my own roll. In my case, I was able to get a few days/showers out of each application when I did it right. A good example of how well it worked, was when I had hit a "wall" of 13 miles before severe ITB pain would ground me. One application, and I was able to run my 26 miler a few days later without a hitch. I credit the tape and CKTP with a spectacular recovery. I continued to use the tape proactively or a few months afterward, on runs of 28 and 30 miles, in addition to my target marathon.


    For your injury, a strip down the center quad that splits and cradles the kneecap may be the simplest application. A reinforcing patch under the kneecap helps to keep the split ends together. Youtube examples are shown here...

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