Kinesiology tape

Loxley SportsIf 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.

My experience

IMG_4284First 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.

I am back, promise

It has been ages since I last posted, so let me explain.

You might remember that I injured my calf in the Manchester 10K I did in May. Well, what a nightmare its been since then. Although I didn’t go to see a physiotherapist, I did see a sports therapist who thought I’d injured my Soleus muscle. Whatever it was, its been a pain, literally and metaphorically.

The day after the race, I attempted to go to work with the aid of a crutch, I made it as far as the 15 minute walk away and had to get the train home. I couldn’t weight bear on my leg and it was very painful, even touching it was not recommended. So after resting up for a full day I did make it to work the following day, with the aid of a crutch and walking very slowly.  I won’t bore you with all the details but that’s pretty much how its been until the last couple of weeks.

10 days ago I started the Kinetic Revolution 30 day challenge, after Julie at A Running Battle recommended it to me. Its a daily series of exercises to help strengthen your legs. Up to now it seems to be working, fingers crossed! Once I’ve finished it I’ll write up a proper post about it.

Going forward, I’m back online properly after buying some new kit yesterday. With the best will in the world blogging on an iPhone isn’t possible, for me anyway.

I’ve got a few reviews coming over the next few weeks and another competition for some great prizes. You might also get to read about my first runs since May! Wish me luck :)

John.

Home physiotherapy #2

Home physiotherapy kit
Rolling pin inspired by dawninwonderland

About a month ago I had some slight stiffness in my calf muscle, it was my own fault, a classic case of too much too soon! I can’t remember where I first got the idea, it might have been on another WP blog, but the idea was to use a frozen water bottle as a roller.

I’ve got to say that the roller has been a great success. I use it to roll my calf muscles, shins and IT band.  I usually roll for about 1 minute per muscle group, starting with the calf, then the outside & inside of my shins. I usually then move onto my hamstrings, quads and IT band. I’ve also tried it on my back and shoulders.

Simply put the bottle underneath the affected area, put your hands either side of your body and roll backwards and forwards. You’ll know when you hit the “sweet spot”.

My lovely knee

I usually do this two-three times a day after running and on rest days.

It isn’t at all painful, the ice has a slight anaesthetic affect as well as reducing (or in my case removing) any pain, while the ridges in the water bottle aid in the massaging of the muscle.

You will find that the muscles you have rolled are quite cold when you’ve finished, so I wouldn’t recommend any stretching at this point. I usually allow them to return to their normal temperature before moving again.

I usually finish off the session rolling the soles of my feet and my Achilles heal. By now, a lot of the water will have thawed so return the bottle to the freezer for the next session.

It works for me, I’d love to hear it has helped you too.