You may remember USA gold medalist Kerri Walsh sporting KT Tape during the Olympics. She used it to help with her shoulder injuries and in doing so propelled the product into the spotlight. Now it is readily available at most sporting stores and can help you with your muscle pains.
I've been using Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape for the past few weeks to help with my Plantar Fasciitis pain. I'm flat footed and tend to get pain in the underneath/sole of my feet on extended hiking treks and during my weekly martial arts practice. It can be quite painful and the only real way to reduce the pain is to rest and ice the foot, which isn't always an option. KT Tape helps by providing support and lift to my arch when wearing shoes and even when barefoot in dojo. I've also been wearing KT Tape to relieve the calf pain I have been feeling during my transition to a barefoot running style, so far it's been working great.
How KT Tape Works
KT Tape is applied along muscles, ligaments, and tendons (soft tissue) to provide a lightweight, strong, external support that helps to prevent injury and speed recovery. KT Tape works differently for different injuries. KT Tape can lift and support the knee cap, holding it in place for Runner’s Knee. KT Tape can support sagging muscles along the arch of the foot, relieving the connective tissues for Plantar’s Fasciitis. And KT Tape can lift the stress off of shin splints to allow pain release and give the body a better opportunity to recover.
Depending on how it is applied, KT Tape supports, enables, or restricts soft tissue and its movement. By stretching and recoiling like a rubber band, KT Tape augments tissue function and distributes loads away from inflamed or damaged muscles and tendons, thereby protecting tissues from further injury.
KT Tape is made up of reinforced 100% cotton sheathes designed to provide durability and increased strength. These cotton sheathes are embedded into weft yarn to provide uni-directional elasticity- allowing the tape to stretch in length but preventing the tape from stretching in width. The Matrix is a mechanical mesh weave designed to provide precisely 140% bi-linear elasticity along the length of the tape, and no elasticity in the tape’s width. 140% elasticity is critical because it is the same elasticity as human skin.
The KT Tape website has a lot of additional information about how to use the tape, success stories, where you can buy it and most importantly some excellent video tutorials showing how to apply the tape for specific injuries such as shin splints, runners knee, calf strain and dozens more. Here is the video showing how to correctly apply KT Tape for Plantar Fasciitis (this is how I learned).
Have you tried using KT Tape or a similar type of tape for your backpacking and hiking related injuries? If so I'd love to hear about your experience with it.
Disclosure: The author owns this product and paid for it using their own funds.
Brian is a Charlotte based backpacker, gear junkie, runner, and CrossFit(er). Originally from Southampton, England, Brian has lived in the US for over 20 years, finally settling in North Carolina. He spends as much time backpacking as his busy work schedule and family life will allow.