My first experience with kinesiology tape occurred when I was dealing with some knee issues while training for the Rock 'n Roll St. Louis Marathon. I'd broken my leg eleven months before and began dealing with pain in that leg and knee about two weeks prior to the race.
I went to see a physical therapist, and she recommended KT Tape. After she taped me up, I did notice a bit of a difference, although it may have been a purely placebo effect.
Kinesiology tape is "usually made of tightly woven elasticated cotton (97%) and nylon (3%) fibres" (source: Running Physio). Manufacturers of the various types of kinesiology tape claim it can reduce pain, improve postural alignment, and increase athletic performance.
The evidence for these benefits is mixed. I've used various brands of KT Tape, Protec, and Rocktape. All these brands are readily available online and in many sporting goods and running stores. I've even purchased KT Tape at Target.
Now, I use compression socks and calf sleeves instead. First of all, compression socks and calf sleeves may be more expensive initially, but after you've worn them about 20 times, you've already come out ahead from one roll of kinesiology tape.
While I wouldn't recommend kinesiology tape due to the cost and the mixed research on its benefits, I will say that it did seem to help somewhat when I used it. I've been dealing with a bit of a calf strain lately, and I'm thinking of trying the kinesiology tape that I still have because it will stay on for a few days. Then, I don't have to wear compression socks around the house, etc.
Here's some further reading on kinesiology tape:
- The Verdict Behind 5 Popular Running Tools
- Compression Socks and Kinesio Tape: TD Fitness Review
- Kinesio Tape: does it work
Many researchers believe that kinesiology tape simply gives the athlete a placebo effect. However, a placebo effect is still an effect.
If anyone would care to comment on their experience with kinesiology tape, I'd love to hear about it.