Whether you race in marathons sporadically or run in them every week, you may have come across other runners with bright-coloured tape in different shapes and patterns on various parts of their bodies. Maybe you’ve heard of kinesiology tape before but aren’t quite sure of its benefits or whether it’s effective at all. This tape that adorns the limbs of both recreational athletes and competitive professionals has sparked conversation across the world about what Kinesiology tape is and whether the tape is worth trying.
What Is Kinesiology Tape?
Kinesiology tape is made to be the same thickness, weight and elasticity as human skin. It provides constant stimulation to the receptors in your skin affecting the nervous system to help with pain and muscle tension, improves postural positions and elevates the skin to promote blood circulation and lymphatic fluid flow. When injury happens it helps to regain lost range of motion and gets you back on your feet as quickly as possible. It does this via a combination of different mechanisms that act independent of one another but combine to create the best results. The skin stimulation improves muscular function which improves lymphatic congestion, modulates pain signals to the brain which allows you to be more active and the increased activity combined with the skin elevation further improves lymphatic fluid flow and tissue healing. The adhesive on the Kinesiology tape is hypoallergenic and medical-grade and remains extremely durable and sturdy when applied to the skin allowing it to last for up to 5 days.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Benefit Runners?
All levels for runners, from beginners to Olympians, can benefit from Kinesiology tape. If you’ve ever experienced an injury from running, whether severe or minor, the healing process can be rather uncomfortable and last for an extended period. Here are all of the ways Kinesiology tape can benefit runners:
1. Faster Healing
Kinesiology tape’s elasticity raises the skin under the tape, which ultimately stretches the space between the skin and the injured muscle. By doing so, it affects the nervous system to decrease pain and muscles tension, promotes blood flow and lymphatic fluid drainage, eliminating waste products at a much quicker pace, allowing for faster healing time.
2. Decreased Pain
Kinesiology tape can reduce the pain caused by acute and chronic injury, poor posture and inflammation. When the tape is applied to the skin with no stretch it affects the neural signaling traveling to the brain activating the sensory gating mechanism leading to normalization of muscular tone and decreased pain. When applied in a structural way kinesiology tape can help maintain more desirable postural positions or avoid painful ranges of motion. When pain is caused by inflammation, the tape elevates the skin, opens the lymphatic vessels and allows you to start moving again, all decreasing the inflammation.
3. Enhanced Muscle Strength
Kinesiology tape has been shown to increases core muscle strength, endurance and balance most commonly once the muscular system has been fatigued. The mechanism of how kinesiology tape affects strength and endurance isn’t completely understood yet but it though be a combination of decreased pain sensation (pain gate mechanism) and stimulation of the autonomic nervous system increases blood circulation to the area, bringing oxygen and decreasing metabolites such as lactate. Improved lymphatic draining via lifting of the skin also helps with the removal of pain stimulating substances such as lactate and bradykinin. Kinesiology tape is thought to improve balance by providing additional sensory information to the brain about postural positions which becomes important once the postural system is impaired due to fatigue. This additional positional information to the brain allows it to react as it would in a normal state and overcome the effects of fatigue.
4. Encourages Proper Posture
A common thing runners are known to struggle with is maintaining good postural positions while running. As a result of the high volume of time spent running and engraining these positional patterns many runners develop poor postures and are unable to break these habits. Applying kinesiology tape in a structural manor can improve positional alignment and help you run and build strength in more ideal postures. It also can provide feedback to the brain as fatigue sets in if poor posture is the result of being tired and getting sloppy with your technique.
Common Running Injuries That Kinesiology Tape Can Help
Although injuries can happen at any time to anyone these are especially common for runners to struggle with:
- Shin Splints: This pain can come from the muscle on the front of your shin (Tibialis Anterior) or the muscle behind your shin (Tibialis Posterior). If it is the muscle in the front and lateral to your shin that’s causing the problem applying tape just below the outside of the knee across to the base of the big toe and then apply additional strips across the full width of the shin can be very effective. If it is the Tibialis Posterior that is causing pain placing tape just medial to your tibia down the length of your shin with similar additional strips across the width of the shin will be very helpful
- Knee Pain: Runners understand knee pain well! This pain can commonly be triggered by a handful of issues such as an imbalance in the knee, weak foot arch or glutes and core or range of motion issues in your foot, ankle, knee or hip. While you determine the root cause of the problem kinesiology tape can help improve your knee pain by apply two strips onto the quad muscle and then apply them down onto both sides of the knee cap in a teardrop shape.
- Achilles Tendon Injury: Too much stress too quickly can cause the Achilles tendon to become irritated and painful. The large Achilles tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel and can be very painful when overloaded due to poor foot, ankle or knee mechanics or quick increases in running volume. Take a strip of the tape, applying it midway down the calf towards the bottom of the foot then use another strip to cross over at the back of the ankle.
- Inflammation: If swelling is present after an injury or run, apply multiple thin finger like pieces of tape over the inflamed area without pulling or stretching the tape similar in pattern to the Spidertech Lymphatic Spider.
Before your next marathon or morning jog proactively prepare yourself with these great kinesiology taping solutions. SpiderTech Kinesiology tape is thin, extremely durable yet flexible and stays secure on your skin for several days from our strong adhesive. Ensure you’re operating at your best every time you run or workout with these effective taping solutions and more from SpiderTech kinesiology tape.
Kinesiology tape simplified, comfortable and affordable. Check out SpiderTech Kinesiology taping solutions at https://spidertech.com/.