Over the past few years, the world of kinesiotape has slowly converted skeptics into believers one strip at a time. While we all know a runner or two who uses the tape liberally, at some point in your running career it’s likely you’ll try your hand (or is it leg) with kinesiotape.
Make no mistake, athletes have been taping themselves for years, but it wasn’t until 2008 that kinesiotape hit the mainstream. After the Beijing Olympic Games this new tape was front and center. It was seen as an evolution from the traditional and rigid white athletic tape.
It’s worth noting that the research is “meh” when it comes to defending the use kinesiotape. A 2012 metanalysis in the Journal of Sports Medicine found little supportive evidence that kinesiotape was superior to traditional taping methods.1 Another literature review found limited evidence to support kinesiotaping techniques for improving athletic-based performance (measured in strength, motion, and proprioception).2
Does this mean it doesn’t work? Not really. But we one thing is for certain–kinesiotape is a tool in the tool box. I use it on myself and will continue to use it on my runners.
There are two major challenges to kinesiotape:
Proper taping varies for what you’re attempting to achieve. Placement of tape and the amount of stretch all vary between injuries. Most kits come with instructions on the “how” for specific injuries. You can try your hand with their recommendations or on YouTube–or better yet, with a clinician (PT, MD, DC).
Getting It to Stick
Most kinesiotape brands will stay on for a few days if your application is correct. Some brands have stronger adhesive than others (hello RockTape), but even the best adhesive is meaningless if you don’t follow a few cardinal rules. Take a look at this video on a few tips for getting your tape to stay on.
1. Williams, S., Whatman, C., Hume, P.A. et al. Sports Med (2012) 42: 153. doi:10.2165/11594960-000000000-00000
2. Drouin, J., McAlpine, C., Primak, K., Kissel, J. J Can Chiropr Assoc (2013) 57(4):356-365.