One of the products that people are a little hesitant of is Kinesiology tape, we thought we would ask our exhibitor Rock Tape to give us a little insight into what it is and some basics on using it.

Paul Coker is the Medical Director of Rocktape UK, an experienced Physiotherapist and very average ultra/trail runner.  Here is his lowdown on all things kinesiology tape.

WHAT IS KINESIOLOGY TAPE?

Kinesiology tape is an elastic tape made of tightly woven elasticated cotton (97%) and nylon (3%) fibres.  The glue on the tape is acrylic, highly durable and waterproof so tape can be worn for up to a week withstanding vigorous movement, sweat and total emersion in water.  When applied in a vaguely correct manner research has shown that tape can lead to various positive changes including less pain, improved movement, and better muscular endurance and recovery.  Rocktape is premium brand of tape specifically designed to meet the demands of athletes.

 WHAT ITS NOT

The tape does not contain any medication or drugs. Different colours are cosmetic only, all colours of tape have the same elasticity and therefore benefits. Tape is not a replacement for sensible injury management and thorough rehab.  If you are in doubt about what causes your pain or you have a pain that’s not getting better go see an experienced, qualified therapist/professional.

WHAT ARE RUNNING RELATED NIGGLES

Most common running injuries are broadly overuse injuries.  They come on gradually over time as a result of the cumulative load and repetitive impact.  If a certain bit of tissue like the Achilles tendon or kneecap is asked to absorb more load than they are able to easily withstand and absorb they become sensitive and inflamed; viola you have an overuse injury.  In the true sense of the word it isn’t really an ‘injury’ at all, at least not in the same way a broken bone or a torn muscle is.  It is more a cumulative build of stress on tissue.  If there is a mismatch between the strength and toughness of the tissue and what you asked it to absorb during running, then pain occurs.  This process can often be nicely summarised as TOO MUCH. TOO SOON.

HOW SHOULD WE DEAL WITH RUNNING RELATED NIGGLES.

  1. Don’t ignore it. If you are getting sore and it’s getting worse is your bodies’ way of asking you to change something.  Ignoring pain and smashing out the miles is a sure-fire way to turn a little problem into a big one.
  2. Reduce load (volume or intensity) of running but avoid total rest. Until things start to improve.
  3. Keep running. A little bit of running is almost always useful. If its too sore to run with limping, go walking. Total rest is only good for tiredness!!
  4. Move stress around. Often small changes like wearing different shoes, increase step rate or running on a different surface will shift the load around your body enough to take some of the strain off the sore bit.
  5. Get stronger. Most of the common running related pains like plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, Patella and ITB Pain occur in the connective tissue. If your active system (muscles) aren’t stronger enough you will put too much stress on the passive system (connective tissue). So exercise to strength the muscle attached of the sore bit of tissue and your legs generally are a REALLY good idea..
  6. Reduce the pain. Take simply steps like ice, heat, foam rolling, self-massage and kinesiology taping to reduce pain. Better is better; if it feels nice to do and your pain is better after it is probably a good idea. Listen to your body not google and facebook!

QUICK GUIDE TO SELF TAPING

  • Before you tape clean and dry skin thoroughly.
  • Always round the ends of each strip of tape
  • Never put any stredtch on the ends of tape
  • After tape is applied rub it all over to ensure a good stick
  • Tape it waterproof and can be worn for up to a week
  • Remove tape if any skin irritation develops.

3 COMMON TAPE APPLICATIONS FOR RUNNERS

ITB/Outer Knee

YOU WILL NEED

  1. Long strip- length of thigh.
  2. Short strip- Approx 1/3 of long strip

TO APPLY

  • Stand with the leg crossed behind other leg and foot rolled in. Maintain this stretch position throughout the application.
  • Apply end of the long strip of tape with no stretch just below sore spot on the outside of knee, lay the tape with no added stretch directly over the ITB on the outside of thigh.
  • Short strip: Tear the paper in the centre of the tape, peel it back to expose the middle half of tape and stretch about 50%. Lay this directly over the sorest spot and lay each end down with no stretch.
  • Rub the entire application all over to activate the glue and ensure a good stick

ACHILLES TENDON

YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 Strip of tape long enough to go under heel and up both sides of calf.

TO APPLY:

  • Apply middle of tape first just in front of heel (Pic 1)
  • Pull toes and foot up toward knee to stretch calf muscle
  • Apply tape with 25-50% stretch over diagonally over Achilles tendon (Pic2)
  • Apply rest of strip with no added stretch over muscle on opposite side to start point
  • Repeat with second half of strip (Pic3)
  • Remember to apply ends of tape with 0% stretch and rub all over tape to activate glue
  • Tape should cross over point of maximum pain

Anterior Knee Pain (Front of knee)

YOU WILL NEED

2 equal length strips of tape approx length of thigh

TO APPLY

  • Apply base of tape diagonally over top of shin bone with no stretch.
  • Knee flexed to 90° and Quads stretched
  • Curve tape around edge of knee cap with approx 30% stretch.
  • Once tape has crossed centre of leg above knee cap lay rest of tape over opposite side of quads with no added stretch
  • Repeat on opposite side (Pic 3)
  • Remember to apply ends of tape with 0% stretch and rub all over tape to activate glue.

For more information go to www.rocktape.co.uk where you can some great how to video clips and buy a roll or 2.

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