If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ll know I injured my calf back in May. It has
probably been my worst injury to date. A few months off and hopefully everything is back to normal now, fingers crossed! So I was pleased when Loxley Sports got in touch asking me to review their kinesiology tape.
I’ve never used kinesiology tape before, but I’ve always wondered how it worked when I’ve seen athletes wearing it. I thought it was a new development but it was invented over 25 years ago in Japan by Dr Kenzo Kase.
How does it work?
So this is my interpretation of a few pages I’ve read on the subject of Kinesiology taping, feel free to correct me if I’ve got it wrong.
Kinesiology taping works by improving the circulation in the muscle while allowing it to keep moving, as apposed to strapping a muscle, which can mean the muscle is in a more static position. Its claimed that the tape lifts the skin and fascia from the muscle, so the blood and other fluids can move around the muscle more freely, promoting recovery.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much research to back up many of the claims. Any advantages seem to come from the placebo effect, but many people and professional athletes insist kinesiology tape works.
First of all, I must apologise for the picture of my leg on the left. I should have taken it outside with some natural light, it might have improved the appearance, then again, maybe not!
I had 2 rolls of tape to try, a black and a blue one. Since I’d injured my calf I chose that to try the tape on. I read the instructions and cut a length of tape to run down the side of my calf. I then ran another strip down the back of my calf with a shorter piece running across the 2 strips.
The backing of the tape peeled off easily and the tape stuck with no problems to my skin. To be honest, I didn’t find it easy to apply the tape. That was more to do with me than the tape itself. Practice makes perfect and I’m sure It’ll get easier the more I apply the tape myself.
Once the tape was on my calf it felt supported, a bit like when you put on some strapping. It wasn’t too tight and I was able to sleep with the tape on with no problems. To test the stickiness of the tape I left it on for a full 24 hours. I went for a short run with the tape on and was able to warm-up, run, cool down and stretch with the tape still in place. So no problems at all with the adhesive qualities.
The tape was easy as to peel off and not painful, although my calf was missing most of the hairs were the tape was. Importantly for me, there was no irritation. Micropore tape and plasters irritate my skin but there was no problems with the kinesiology tape.
I found advice on using the tape on the web and by watching this video from YouTube.
Did it work?
Its too early to tell, but my calf certainly felt supported with the tape. I think by wearing it more regularly I could comment more. I’ll definitely be using the tape again. But as with anything it doesn’t replace the advice or treatment you can get from your physiotherapist. Whether you should use the tape at all and its positioning are important, so its a good idea to talk to your physio before using it.
Have you ever tried kinesiology tape? I’d love to hear about your experiences of using it, good and bad.