The main thing runners need to know about kinesiology tape is that it helps create room between injured joints to relieve tension and help with inflammation. The relief in the area means better circulation and more oxygen reaching the injury, resulting in a faster, more robust return to form from the sustained injury. Athletes of all disciplines always search for ways to heal faster, and K-tape can help. Applying kinesiology tape is one way to get back on the field faster and in much better condition.
Running could be the earliest sport in history, only debating the idea of competition with sports like wrestling. Running has been part of our development as a species and integral to our survival. It is now in modern times that we run for enjoyment and recreation. Yet running is a sport that is deceiving in its simplicity.
The idea of standing up, starting to run, and being great at it is not real. Proper training and technique are required for all aspects of the sport. Long distance runners, sprinters, and marathon runners all need different types of skills, and neglecting them might cause injury. Thankfully kinesiology tape is there to help those individuals who want to start the sport and even help advanced runners looking to help with recovery or maintain proper form.
What Is Kinesiology Tape?
The rigid, stretchy tape was developed in the 1970s by Japanese chiropractor Kenzo Kase, who sought to create a tape that would provide support but not impede the movement of the body’s joints. Dr. Kase’s Kinesio-Tape or Kinesio Tex Tape resulted in a much more flexible tape for support that differentiated itself from other kinesiology tapes on the market.
Kinesiology tape became popular with over fifty products offering similar treatments and functions. Athletes from around the world tape up their joints and muscles in colorful lengths of tape. Anyone that has seen a CrossFit competition or an athletic meet finds the participants sporting several tones across their bodies, particularly on or around their joints.
Though perceived to be a tool for only high endurance athletes, it is essential to know that the tape can be a valuable tool for sports enthusiasts of any level. The most important aspect of the kinesiology tape is that it cuts down on recovery time and helps athletes train even while injured.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Help?
Firstly, Kinesio tape creates small spaces that help alleviate the swelling. When applied over joints such as the knee or ankle, the increased area allows more blood to flow, reducing swelling. Several physical therapists claim the joint, upon sensing relief, also sends a message to the brain changing the message from pain to relief.
Physical therapists have tested the tape over tensed muscles. These knotted areas treated with the tape alleviating the swelling would signal the brain, and tensions in the points of inflammation would decrease. This would explain why athletes who seem injured and unable to run or participate in sport would be treated with the tape and quickly return to the sport while wearing the colorful tape.
Kinesiology Sports Tape and Its Uses
Physical therapists have been using tape as part of their treatments for mitigating pain and swelling. The treatments include supporting weak joints like those felt through Achilles tendonitis. The added benefit of the tape allowing for natural uninterrupted movement has shown it can help with endurance and improve mobility.
Fatigued muscles and ligaments also enjoy a boost in health. The kinesiology tape allows for training and improvement of technique. Runners are forced to use the proper form to avoid damaging the area again. Conscientious movement improves technique, thus effectively retraining the muscle as an added benefit.
A Runner’s World
The world is full of sports enthusiasts that make running an essential part of their activity (soccer, football, rugby), not to mention the importance of running to build up endurance and condition an athlete. Road work is a vital part of a fighter’s training regime. Soccer players and others train in running to increase their speed, and while there are other health benefits to running for sport, there are a few in which running is the main focus of their athletic endeavor.
Long distance runners, sprinters, and other running disciplines frequently face specific difficulties when training for their sport. Simple therapies can usually address these injuries unless they are a fracture that requires a cast or a form of total immobilization of the joint. Kinesiology tape can help prevent damage by applying it before the activity and using it to keep joints safe and healthy during training.
Kinesiology tape can help with the recovery of an athletic injury. Even if it is just to take the pressure off a swollen ankle, applying the tape over the wound can help. When supporting weak zones kinesiology tape can significantly shorten recovery time so an athlete can return to their sport.
Runners, Injuries, and Kinesiology Tape
The Yale School of Medicine states that the most common injuries can be categorized into three sets.
- Iliotibial (IT) band Friction syndrome: The fibrous tissue that joins the upper portion of the shin to the buttocks is usually injured because of a weak gluteus muscle. It is a painful injury that presents itself when trying to descend an incline. The pain usually shows itself on the side of the hip or the knee joint, which makes other motions, such as lifting, awkward and uncomfortable.
This type of injury usually happens as a person starts running and building joint strength. The overexertion of the muscle is the main reason for the damage to occur when proper technique is not applied.
- Stress Fracture: Beaks in the bone are the result of overuse. These stress fractures usually present themselves in the tibia (shin bone) or metatarsal bones of the feet. The constant wear and tear of the bone from long-running sessions can cause these types of injuries. These injuries usually present themselves hours later, frequently described as stabbing pain.
These fractures require immediate medical attention as training on these breaks can cause further injury. The injured party might need to wear a cast and use walking aids to treat the break and keep pressure off the injury. In extreme cases, a pin might be required to keep the bone in place while it heals.
- Runners Knee: Several reasons can trigger these types of injuries: imbalance of quadriceps or flat feet. An incorrect alignment of the leg bone or any of these can cause additional pressure on the kneecap. The extra pressure can cause wear and tear to the cartilage underneath the kneecap.
- Nipple rash: though it might sound silly, one primary source of discomfort when running is nipple rash or chafing. When the shirt rubs on the flesh for prolonged periods of time, it will cause inflammation and, if ignored, can cause bleeding. Placing tape over the nipple before running is an excellent way to prevent discomfort.
For best results, it is essential to remember to place tape before an injury occurs and not after. Putting tape on an open wound might lead to other medical problems like infection.
How to Apply K-Tape for Recovery
The application of the tape differs from injured area to injured area. It is not the same to tape up a knee as it is to tape up an ankle.
Knee joint: Knee pain for runners or anyone can become an inconvenience to everyday life. The kneecap, patella, or any part of the knee that is out of alignment can become inflamed, torn, or worse. The idea is to use the tape to assist in the recovery of the swelling. Use kinesiology tape to help with the recovery and avoid more significant injury.
Ankle Stability and Sprains: When ligaments, tendons, and general weakness afflicts the ankle joint, it is essential to treat the area. The constant discomfort of walking on a sprained ankle can cause further injury. With the addition of the tape, an athlete can recover and improve their technique as the more careful movement leads to better performance.
When Not to Use Tape
The overuse of tape can cause a sense of overconfidence. It is essential to use tape to help with recovery, but an application should be modified to then improve performance and prevent injury.
- Fracture: K-Tape is not intended for total immobilization of the joint or bone. Immediate medical attention should be sought as soon as the discomfort or pain is noticed.
- Open Wounds: placing tape directly over open wounds can lead to infection. Proper cleaning and medical attention are required to heal this type of injury properly.
Tape can be used in everyday life. It can be beneficial for days when standing for long hours while working or alleviating knee pain, so shifts do not become endurance tests against joint pain. There is no doubt that kinesiology tape helps runners, but ignoring the tape’s opportunity to help with joint pain and other afflictions is asking for more pain.