As someone who is no stranger to a bit of sports-related knee pain and who travels in circles well populated with physical therapists, I am no stranger to the practice of kinesiology theraputic taping.Â The idea behind taping knees and other joints is twofold- the first is to nudge difficult joints into more correct movement and the second is to lift the skin somewhat, relieving pressure on pain transmitters.Â The major drawback of kinesesiology theraputic taping to date has been that it can be fairly complex, the tape isn’t cheap, and often requires a professional to demonstrate the proper technique for any given complaint.
Still, given the success I’d had in using PT-directed taping to help with a painful knee, I was interested when KT Tape contacted us this spring.Â KT Tape is a consumer-oriented athletic tape that has a couple of neat tweaks to make it easier for those outside of the medical profession to take advantage of.Â Seeing as Ms. Marc was having some knee issues at the time, we agreed to give it a go.Â Hit ‘more‘ to find out how things went…
Shipped on rolls of ~2x10in strips, KT Tape is perforated down the center to enable the user to more easily tear the tape as required to address a given complaint.Â This is handy as stretchy adhesive tape can be surprisingly frustrating to handle.Â The corners are nicely radiused, which should help to keep them from catching on clothing and pulling away the skin like sharp corners like to.Â Really, though, the coolest thing about KT Tape is the company’s online database of application videos.Â Rather than relying on complicated written instructions, it is possible to go to the videos with a complaint (say,runner’s knee) and watch a video of a professional applying the tape.Â These videos made it easy to see and understand the often complicated application technique until comfortable.
In practice, KT Taping is still difficult, and it will take a few tries to get things right.Â Given our limited sample, we weren’t able to use the tape for multiple ailments or over a long period of time- but here are our observations.Â KT Tape is really much easier to use than the bulk tape used by professionals.Â The perforations make it easier to handle, as do the individual strips.Â The videos are essential- they are fairly short and well done, which should encourage users to review them from time to time, keeping their technique from drifting.Â Though KT Tape claim that the tape should stay in place, despite bathing, for up to five days, in our experience the tape also seems to want to peel around the edges almost immediately.Â This is despite applying to clean, dry skin, taking care not to stretch the tape before application, and rubbing the tape to activate its’ adhesive.Â Using the ‘skin prep’ used in PT offices helped, but shouldn’t really be necessary.Â We got about two days’ use out of each strip.
Unfortunately in Ms. Bikefix’s case, while the tape did help somewhat, it wasn’t the magic bullet for which we had secretly hoped.Â Riders who are experiencing pain might want to try taping as a ‘what the heck’ solution, but should really try to address any underlying physical or bike fit issues at the same time.Â It seems as though KT Tape’s real value would be for anyone whose doctor or therapist has recommended a particular taping to help with a specific problem and would like to be able to conveniently tape themselves.Â While nothing healthcare-related can be cheap, at $13 for 10-20 applications (some require two strips), KT Tape isn’t particularly expensive and it won’t cause too much financial pain if it doesn’t address a particular complaint.