I’m a runner: not a good one, in fact ‘average’ would be being kind. I’m also a physio and certainly better at that than running. After years of doing both, I should know better than to fall into the ‘too many miles, too soon’ trap, but who takes their own advice? Evidently not me, so, with 2 off-road ultras looming this summer, I started to whack some long runs in a few months back.
I’m not as young as I used to be, so getting down stairs the morning after running for over 2hrs ain’t always that pretty. Gradually, I started to get some more persistent pain in the front of my hip. As much as I tried to ignore it, I had given myself a grumbly hip flexor tendon (Iliopsoas reactive tendonopathy, if you’re into long words). Basically, it hurt to put socks on, dip the clutch and run up hills. It wasn’t a bad hurt, but enough of a niggle to put me getting to the start lines this summer in serious doubt.
I was still running, but more than an hour or uphill wasn’t much fun. So, naturally, I started taping myself to try to get some relief. I started with our standard ‘X marks the spot’ style symptom-reduction taping; it helped a little, but my grumbly tendon grumbled on.
So, out of necessity, I have been getting a little experimental over the last few runs. I’ve had my lateral line (outer leg) taped and a spiral ‘posture’ tape to help reduce hip internal rotation and inward knee drift. These helped a little, but, and I will say this quietly, nothing was really making the sort of dramatic difference I have become used to seeing when I tape my patients. The Classic Quarter start line was looking decidedly shaky.
This weekend I taped as shown in the photo (please excuse the unavoidable crotch shot) and this one hit the spot, big time! I ran 4hrs of seriously up/down coast path and felt nothing more than the tiniest niggle. I’m not saying this is the taping solution for all hip flexor problems, but it is for mine.
A quick explanation of what I have done in the pic:
Two bits of tape; one over front of hip and one on inner leg.
Front of hip: I am using a bit of wide tape (can be done with 2 standard 5cm strips side-by-side). I applied it with hip flexor on stretch. Tape has paper-off stretch, except for as it crosses the crease of the hip, where I’ve given it a decent stretch of around 75%.
Inner leg: This is applied as we recommend for all really tight muscles, with loads of stretch on the tissue and hardly any (paper off stretch or less) on the tape
So what then is the point of telling you all this I hear you ask? If there is a point to my little tale it is this:
There is no right way to tape for any given problem. Also, finding the right taping can take a bit of experimenting and tweaking to evolve how and what you tape. So, whether you are the one wearing the tape or the therapist putting it on patients, don’t be afraid to tinker a little and don’t expect to hit the bullseye first time, every time.
A couple of quick caveats:
1. Yes, I have been a good boy and, as I do with all my patients, I have not just used tape in isolation; I have been doing stretches and glute strengthening exercises and allowing my body enough time to recover well between runs, etc. Rocktape should be part of an integrated injury/pain management and rehab plan.
2. When tinkering with your tape application, remember the Rocktape golden rules to safe, effective and lasting application.
Right, I’m off to do my exercises.
Happy taping and tinkering!
Medical Director RocktapeUK