Physio 101: Kinesiology Taping for Runners

NTape-214 sml

If your curiosity is piqued by runners at races flying along with tape on their legs, fret not. Grace Ho, Head Physiotherapist of Physiotherapy Centre @ Harbourfront, gives us the lowdown on what does kinesiology tape do, and why she recommends it to her patients.


Q: What injuries do you commonly see in a runner?

Grace: Common injuries that runners present at the physiotherapy clinic include Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (Runner’s knee), Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, Patellar Tendonitis, Shin Splints (Tibialis posterior muscle strain), Achilles Tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis.

For older runners, early degenerative changes to load-bearing structures such as the intervertebral discs in the lumbar spine along with the menisci and cartilage in the knees may also produce pain since these structures are subjected to repetitive stresses during running. Symptoms may present as lower back and knee pain. 

Q: When do you use Kinesiology Tape?

Grace: I make it a point to tell patients that kinesiology tapes are not a magic cure-all. The tape is effective only if the correct technique is applied for selected conditions.

I have used kinesiology tapes for more than 12 years on athletes and non-athletes. It is mainly used to reduce connective tissue strain, improve muscle recruitment, and enhance biofeedback and proprioception as well as to facilitate lymphatic circulation for the reduction of swelling and pain.  The results have consistently been good.

It is helpful for runners to learn how to use kinesiology tapes the correct way to enhance muscle performance for their runs. Wrong techniques may lead to more muscle strain. Certified taping courses are always available.

Q: What tape do you recommend using?

Grace: Every brand of kinesiology tape has their selling points. The various tape differ in elasticity, texture, adhesive properties, design and colours. I personally recommend and use NTape, which I find is good for people with sensitive skins that are prone to allergic reactions from adhesive material found in most other tapes. NTape has a Stratagel® adhesive that does not remove much of your top surface layer of the skin as seen in the image below.

skin

Q: What do you recommend runners to take note of when they run?

Grace: Discipline is the key to reducing the risk of running injuries. To enjoy running without being plagued with an injury, it helps to be able to identify one’s risk factors and to make a consistent, conscious effort to reduce those risk factors.

This includes identifying one’s own foot type and wear running shoes suitable for one’s foot type, identifying any areas of imbalances in muscle strength and flexibility, and carrying out daily stretching exercises to maintain and improve muscle and joint flexibility.

Strengthening exercises to the core, the hip and lower muscles, as well as exercises to improve knee and ankle joint proprioception, are also helpful. Sports massage would be helpful in addressing areas where there are stiff muscles or scar tissue adhesions so that the muscles can contract optimally during running. A good running style with a biomechanically efficient posture goes a long way to preventing injuries and running more efficiently.

A holistic approach is the best with inputs from a multidisciplinary team. Practical inputs from a running coach, sports biomechanist, sports physiologist, sports nutritionist and a sports physiotherapist are a luxury to have, but they go a long way in preventing and recovering from running injuries.

Get Nitto Kinesiology NTape at:
Arcade Sports, Queensway Shopping Centre,
1 Queensway,
#01-16/#02-19,
Singapore 149053

Or online at the following websites:
RUNshop
Lazada
NTapeFacebook
Knghub

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