Glorified Duct Tape: Does KT Tape Work?

I see people walking around with KT tape and my first thought is, “douche bag” usually followed by, “asshole” and “sucker.” So I was saying this stuff to myself in the mirror this past Sunday while I tried to follow the video online for taping up an IT band problem. Super awkward. I may have even tweeted something along the lines of…

In my defense, the run had hurt so badly (hence the typo) and visions of my weekend filled with 4 races flashed in front of my eyes so I was desperate. And I knew they had been selling this stuff at TJ Maxx for a discount so I could try it and not pay retail. Did I mention I was desperate and in serious pain? Not enough to pay full price, mind you, but still.

I headed to the Georgetown TJ Maxx and found a roll hidden behind some shake weights and yoga blocks in their workout section at the back of the store. It wasn’t any of them flashy colors, just beige, so it basically looks like a giant bandaid.

Thanks to a super busy work week (like I-carried-around-and-constantly-checked-my-blackberry-like-a-huge-asshole busy), I’ve only gotten in two 5 mile runs that were completely pain free. If we’re being scientifically fair I should state the following disclaimers:

  1. I have avoided running downhill, which is usually what triggers the problem in the first place.
  2. It’s come and gone to the point where the fact that my knee is not hurting now is not indicative of anything, really.
  3. I started stretching more regularly. Like legit stretching, not just bending over to pick up the M&M I dropped on the floor; I even seriously put some thought into strength training. I even did a whole 5 minute video once. So, there’s that.

Those first two caveats lead me to think that maybe the tape isn’t what’s working, A co-worker who stopped running because of IT band and knee problems just looked at me, shook his head, and said, “placebo,” to which I responded, “I’ve got another marathon in less than a month–I’ll take the placebo and literally run with it.”

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17 thoughts on “Glorified Duct Tape: Does KT Tape Work?

  1. I sprained my knee in August and was told brace or tape to come back running. I bought a brace but it kept rolling down so I swapped to taping. Maybe it is placebo but I ran without the tape on a treadmill (so nice and flat) and had pain the next day. Ran again in horrible conditions (unplowed slushy snowy streets) which caused a lot of knee turning due to slipping and sliding and had no pain.

    So I may be wearing a douche tag in Disney but I will be doing the races hopefully pain free and matching my tape to my outfit! Hell if someone told me carrying a stone in my hand would mean I would have no pain, I’d be lugging that sucker everywhere.

    Also, they tape for free at the expo, and use the good stuff that I couldn’t get off for 3 days after Wine and Dine

    • Thanks for sharing your experience–I always saw people wearing the flashy colors and thought it was more decorative than anything else and I look at it and I STILL can’t believe this stuff would actually do anything, but you’re right–at this point I’d carry a rock around if it mean no pain and it does seem to really work! I need to start combing research journals to see what the deal is.

      I’d love to go to the expo and get it taped–I hear the sign up list fills up fast but since I found something that appears to be working I’m just going to keep going with it.

  2. After my ankle injury I had been using a brace which actually caused more problems.I ended up having to see a physical therapist, who told me to ditch the brace and taped me up. From that day I was a believer. It truly does work, and for so many different things – including swelling and bruising. Although I do prefer the KT tape Pro in the orange box, because it sticks better/longer.

    • did the physical therapist tell you how it works? I think I need to return to TJ Maxx and get more–they had a box of the pro in Sunday for $12.99. I’m really excited to hear it really worked for other people–I’m definitely taking it with me for the marathon in January.

      • It does a few things, for my ankle, it offers stability without a bulky brace, or restricting movement. It apparently helps the healing process by gently lifting the skin, which helps support; but also increases blood flow to the injured area. If you Google KT Tape and bruises, I’m sure you will find pictures of how quickly it works to heal bruising from injury. Its crazy! I’ve used it on areas, such as the pesky IT band, where a brace would never work, and found it to work there too. The important thing with both injuries was that I continued to do the exercises and such to help the area get stronger so I wouldn’t need the tape all the time. But – the tape works and is AMAZING in the interim!

  3. Are you doing any strength training along with your stretching an foam rolling for ITB related knee issues? I had some pretty crazy ITB issues a few years ago and the combo of all three really helped…and some intense, adhesion stripping massages.

  4. I’ve always been of the same mindset – and poopoo’d KT tape off. HOWEVER, when I totally messed up my heel before Wine and Dine I saw the KT booth at the expo and thought, “eh, what the hell?” Now I’m not saying that it was a cure all because I was still hurting, but I think that it made it hurt less. Maybe? I haven’t worn it since then. And maybe that’s why my foot still hurts.

  5. Pingback: Compression: Does it work? | Pink Elephant on Parade

  6. Pingback: The Tape Trap: Updated thoughts on KT Tape | Pink Elephant on Parade

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