This month, I got the chance to try out KT Tape and it could not have come at a better time! My sample box came with 5 different types of KT Tape: Cotton, Pro, Gentle, Extreme, and Wide.
Last summer, I rolled my ankle while training for the Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon and THEN I rolled it again on the 4th mile of the actual race and kept on going (which maybe wasn’t the best decision)…so ever since then, things haven’t been quite the same with my left foot. I did go to an Urgent Care the day after the race and nothing was fractured. After RICE’ing it for a while, I wore a compression wrap for a bit, but it got kind of bulky and annoying so I pretty much gave it up. A couple of people recommended KT Tape to me over the last few months, but honestly, I was a bit skeptical of it. I didn’t understand how “tape” could help me.
So what exactly is KT Tape and how does it work?
“KT Tape is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain while supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments.”
“When an area of the body is injured through impact or over-use, the lymphatic fluid builds up causing inflammation and swelling. This accumulation of lymphatic fluids may cause increased pressure on muscles and tissue which can cause significant discomfort or pain.
It is believed that when applied correctly, KT Tape lifts the skin, decompressing the layers of fascia, allowing for greater movement of lymphatic fluid which transports white blood cells throughout the body and removes waste products, cellular debris, and bacteria.”
In other words, KT Tape does some fancy science-y stuff in your body to relieve discomfort. 😉 Also, Olympians use it so it must be pretty rad, right?? Well let’s see!
Since I am new to any type of taping of anything, the first thing I did was watch 47 YouTube videos on taping techniques. Okay, maybe not 47, but it was quite a few. I also read through all of the tips and tricks on the KT Tape website. They have some great instructional photos and videos on there!
When I first started taping, I had no clue what I was doing and made a few mistakes. I started out with the basic Cotton KT Tape…
As you can see, I didn’t properly apply the tape…which meant it didn’t last very long. I’ll list my tips for success a little later on. Then I tried a bit of a different technique with the Pro tape…
This ended up lasting longer and I felt like it was a more beneficial taping sesh. And in case you’re wondering what the big differences between the Cotton and Pro are:
Then I tried out the Gentle tape…
Surprisingly, I actually really liked the gentle tape. I don’t really have any skin issues, but I thought it was flexible and supportive and I could remove it with no pain or skin-pulling. Then I went on to try the Extreme…
The Extreme is a bit thicker and supposed to last longer, so I really liked the idea of using it for my feet since it’s a sweaty and flexible area. Then something life-changing happened! I got on #BibChat (It’s like a Twitter party/Educational session for runners every Tuesday) and I discovered that you can mix up the tapes! Whaaaattttt? I can wear three different tapes at once? Did I mention that I’m really new to taping?? Anywho…so I decided to put the Extreme under my foot, then use the Pro on top and then wrapped the Cotton next to that one (where I didn’t need as much support)…
Since I’m not sure what my ailment is exactly…I sort of combined the wrapping techniques from both the ankle stability taping instructions and plantar fasciitis instructions. I have pain in my arch (first thing in the morning and then while running) and since I rolled my ankle, I like having extra ankle stability. After messing around with some more taping, I finally figured out a good wrapping method that’s been working for the last week!
And now, after a few weeks of taping, I’m feeling more confident in my methods! And what about the pain? Well, it hasn’t completely gone away and I’m not sure that it ever will…but it has decreased during and after my runs. I think I would need to use it consistently for a few more weeks to see a bigger difference.
How ’bout the Wide tape though? I tried out the wide tape on my hamstring because I do get pain/soreness there sometimes. I definitely need more practice with the Wide, it was a little tricky to apply since it’s so big. Also, removing it was pretty painful (like a lot painful). So next time, I plan to try the Gentle on my hamstring since it’s a sensitive area and use the Wide on my lower back because I have issues there as well.
So here are my tips for beginners!
- If you have severe/chronic pain, see a doctor (common sense, y’all)
- Clean the area first
- Apply 1 hour before your activity
- Don’t pull too hard on your anchor points or else it will create an “accordion” effect and basically the strip is ruined.
- Don’t pull too tight on the middle part. The KT Tape website recommends about a 50% pull for many of the methods – just don’t pull 100% – you still want flexibility and blood flow!
- Putting on too much tape is not going to help you. Again, you want flexibility.
- Rub the tape after you apply it because it’s heat activated. This is a really important step to get the most out of your application!
- There really isn’t a wrong way to apply KT Tape. I highly suggest watching the videos and reading the instructions…but you can also test out different methods to see what works best for you!
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with my KT Tape experience and I will continue to use it in the future! Here’s what I liked most about it:
- Pre-cut Strips– The strips are already cut and easy to pull off. The backing is super easy to pull off too, with no sticky residue.
- Bright Colors – They are available is super fun colors!
- Flexibility – I like the support and flexibility they provide without being too bulky, like a traditional brace.
- Confidence – Something about wearing the KT Tape makes you feel a little bit more hardcore. KT Tape lets people around you know that a little pain isn’t going to stop you from reaching your goals! Also, Olympians use it, remember?? You are using something the best of the best use! How cool is that?
- Containers – With the exception of the Cotton and Gentle tapes, they come in reusable containers! So when you are done, you can save them for tiny things around the house, small toys, etc…it’s especially great for travel!
What I didn’t like:
The only issue I had was that I couldn’t get my strips to last 4-7 days. Mine lasted about 1-2 days. I’m still new to taping so it could be that I haven’t gotten the technique down quite yet. Or it could be that my injury is in a spot that gets wet, oily, sweaty…that it’s not meant to last very long on my foot. But if YOU know of a way to make it last longer, please let me know!!!!
Are you curious about KT Tape? Pricing ranges from $9.99 to $45.99 depending on which product you are after. The Pro, which was my favorite, runs for $19.99. And as a bonus, you can score 30% off your order with code, “BIBRAVE30”! So if you’re interested, now is a great time to try it out!
Go ahead, add a little Joy to your life! 🙂 🙂
Have you used KT Tape before? What did you think??