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KT Tape: Does It Work?


I've been curious about KT Tape, the bright-colored sports injury tape seen on athletes like Kerri Walsh, forever. This year, I had a first experience trying it out on myself.


KT Tape Marathon Stand

I had the opportunity to test it out at the San Francisco Marathon expo, where the Utah-based folks at KT Tape set up a station. It was my first trip to a race day expo; I had no idea what a business race day expos are!

For those unfamiliar, KT Tape is an elastic kinesiology tape made of specially woven cotton that promises to provide "pain relief, stability, and support" for injuries ranging from IT band syndrome to runner's knee to rotator cuff pain. I considered myself the perfect candidate, as I was going to be running the half marathon portion with several persistent injuries.

KT Tape close-upI saddled up to the medical bench, and the KT Tape professionals quickly got to wrapping me up like a Christmas present.

First, they showed me how to tape up my ankle for posterior tib tendonitis, and then for shin splints as well, instructing me when to flex and when to relax my injured left leg. The tape seemed easy enough to apply, with simple-to-remove adhesive backing, and when I stood up, my leg felt comfortable, albeit supported — kind of like I had a bra on my shin and ankle.

KT tape after a few daysMy race was the next day, and the tape held up nicely during the half. It didn't have an intense effect, but rather acted as light support and a bit of a reminder to correct my running form whenever it felt off during the 13.1 miles. It even stayed on nicely after an ice bath and a shower, although it did begin to really fray after about 2 days (showers included).

It didn't resolve my injury (I am still recovering and on running hiatus six months and a few MRIs later!) but it did alleviate symptoms and provide support to injured areas. You can pick it up for around $13 at Target and most sporting goods stores around the country. What's been your experience with KT Tape?

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meggyme meggyme 3 years 37 weeks
I have patella tendonitis and while rowing crew and playing water polo in college I used this with great results. I used an adhesive spray to help keep the tape on longer in the water. It takes awhile to learn how to use it, but after a little trial and error, I think the results are worth it. The idea is to support as well as increase blood flow by wrinkling up the skin.
TiVo TiVo 3 years 37 weeks
I have not tried this brand, but when I used to run cross country in high school, I used a diff kinesiology tape. It was helpful for my knees (patella femoral [sp???]), but it had downsides. First, it sometimes sweats off, and it takes a few extra minutes to properly apply, which can anger a hurried coach. The tape also gets expensive when you're using it daily for a habitual problem. It did help though, so I'm not trying to bash it tooooo much!