Tuesday, April 2, 2013

8 Things I've Learned About KT Tape

KT Tape. You're starting to see it all over. It was first made famous by Kerri Walsh Jennings, the olympic volleyball player. But have you ever thought of trying it?
Not my leg.

I first tried KT tape after a muscle ripping injury hit me 13 days before the New York City Marathon. I was paniced and running around crazy (well, not running, mentally treadmilling really) trying to find a cure.  I fell into KT tape.
Taping was a perfect outlet and gave me something to focus my energy on.  The New York City Marathon never happened due to the hurricane, but I wasn’t taping right anyways.  Since this time, I have learned a bit on how to tape, and last weekend, I ran my first event wearing the tape on both knees.
I swear it makes a difference. Both in training runs and the event, there was less pain, and a faster recovery. Isn't’ that everything we can ask for?
 Who knows why it works. (Link: KT Tape Mumbo Jumbo) I’ve heard it is like an extra tendon, I’ve heard it just provides compression, I’ve heard it lifts the skin and provides extra drainage for the lymphatic system.
Or perhaps it triggers the Placebo gene in our brains.
I’m a big believer in placebos.   Even if you think it’s just a placebo piece of tape and not some magic, it doesn’t matter. (Numerous scientific studies show that depression medications work no more effectively than placebos in relieving depression symptoms. No difference. Yes, go buy big Pharm stock.)
 Here's my conspiracy theory about KT tape, and it comes from a knowledge of Fetanyl patches that are stuck to the skin and time release opiates into your blood stream. I am thinking that KT tape is a patch of drugs.  Some sort of running lubricant pain reliever soaks into your skin as you wear it, making pain nonexistent and leaving you to run free.  Wear it for three days straight, and you become hooked, a KTtape addict, strung out and selling a bag of cold, greasy cheeseburgers for your next role of KT tape.
But do we really want the pain to go away? Isn't certain kind of pain important information to change our training? Stop making sense. Instead of tape, I could focus on better running form, stretching, better nutrition, cross training, all sorts of things that might help my body be more resilient.  Or I could accept that I can't train for 4 marathons in two years.
But forget that, I want the sticky end of a piece of tape on me. Give me two, and make them neon.
 KT tape provides the kind of customer service you only expect to see in Disney World. They’ve put up YouTube videos on how to tape specific  spots on your body.  Better yet, send The Kt tape twitter account a picture. They will eyeball your tapejob and tell you if you taped right.  Send them a steak you are cooking, and they will tell you if it’s cooked to medium yet. Send them a picture of your dog, and they’ll walk it for you.
 As I write this, I am scheduled for a professional consultation by a taping expert followed by three kinesiotape applications. I bought a groupon for 39 bucks. Not a bad deal, considering the tape itself is worth maybe half of that.
Here's my list of taping tips so far. (Stay tuned for more added.)
1.  The tape either goes on or it doesn’t. If you don’t put it on effectively the first try, your clothes will scrape it off pretty quickly
2. if you do put it on effectively, it will stay on for days, even in the shower.
3. You’ll be amazed at how a good tape job becomes just a part of your skin. After a bad tape job you’ll be tempted to throw the roll away.
4.  The secret is to put one end on firm, with no stretch, then give the stretch while holding the end down, and then put the other end down with no stretch. This will make sense when you try.
5. You will waste some tape. It’s a given. And you’ll start to find old discarded tape pieces at various places around the house.
6. More than one piece around the target area seems to work best.
7. There’s regular tape, and then there’s a Pro version. Once you go Pro, you wont' go back. It's much better.
8. If your legs are hairy like mine, Your hair will rip out a bit. After many tries, I have found that the Grip, Rip, and Yell tactic works best


Kathee said...

My name is Kathee and I've gone Pro. Bright Pink please...I'd trade you all my Easter Peeps.

Char said...

I've never used KT tape but I've used good old strapping tape plenty of times (three sons who played soccer). My advice for easy removal will always be to shave the taped area before applying. Otherwise it's a little like
Steve Carrell getting that full body wax in 40 year old Virgin. Ouch!

Suzy said...

How do I convince my doctor to give me a placebo sleeping pill? I've bugged my eyes out at him, raised one eyebrow, and telecommunicate it to him but he's just not getting the hint. Frigging frustrating. Sigh... I guess I better go for a long run now. (p.s. I use tape for my cranky PFPS knee problem and it works like a charm)

Michelle @ www.movinitwithmichelle.com said...

Can you buy this in stores, or do you order online?

Ty @tyruns.blogspot said...

I was skeptical, but I kind of like it now. I agree...pro is way better. May be a placebo, but who cares, as long as it "works". Speaking of, I took mine off last night, probably time to reapply now. :)

Mark Matthews said...

When I went to the professional today, he did shave parts of my leg. He had pink, but I went with Orange. As for where to buy, I have seen them at Dunhams, my local running store, and you can also get online. Most I paid is 19.99 for the pro version

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Alison @ racingtales said...

As a KT tape addict, I love this post! I have also wondered about the placebo effect - I mean, how can a bit of colored tape help? However, I may have been convinced after doing a botch job of taping an injured hip, resulting in a painful 10k, followed by a much better job a week later (I could feel a difference) that resulted in no pain over 5 times that distance! Still, I use it sparingly to keep my addiction under control. I've never found it to stay on in the pool, despite my attempts...

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