Product review: KT Tape an easy fix for ankle issues

I’d been curious about KT Tape ever since I noticed what appeared to be a tangle of black duct tape stuck to volleyball player Kerri Walsh’s shoulder during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Walsh credits KT Tape to helping her manage her rotator-cuff injuries, and I was convinced that if the tape could help her, it could certainly help a schmo like me.

Still, when I saw a sample of KT Tape in my Marine Corps Marathon goody bag, I didn’t immediately slap it on my tendonitis-ridden ankle. I saw complicated-looking arrangements of tape stuck to other runners’ legs, and assumed there was a long, complicated application process these runners had learned from an expert.

I’m not sure what made me dig out that tape again, several months after the fact, but last week, I finally decided to give it a try. I gave the Web site a quick look to see if I could find instructions for application. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the user-friendly site provides short, helpful videos for applying the tape to every imaginable injury, including tendonitis. It took all of five minutes to get it just right the first time.

I couldn’t tell a difference immediately. It wasn’t until my running buddy commented on the tape mid-run that I realized just how well it was working: I hadn’t thought about the tape, or my ankle, once.

KT Tape apparently works differently for every injury, helping to stabilize some tendons and ligaments and lifting pressure off other ones. I found this description from the KT Tape Web site helpful: “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.”

Bottom line: It made my ankle hurt less on two five-milers and one eight-miler. I bought a full roll of pink KT Tape (it comes in other colors, but why would you want them with pink available?) for $12.99 on Amazon.com. My sole complaint: The tape starts peeling off after five or so miles. Still, for that cost, I would recommend anyone with a nagging running injury give it a try.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Product review: KT Tape an easy fix for ankle issues

  1. Kaveh

    Another downside: you HAVE TO be hairless on the application location (unlike athletic tape where you can pre-wrap it). I’m still not running fast enough to where my leg hair causes any significant drag so I’ll wait to shave it.

    • jman

      Kaveh, haha nice name. So you do not HAVE TO shave. Read this:

      In most cases it is not necessary to shave the skin before applying KT Tape. In fact in many instances some short hair actually can help with the adhesion as well as effectiveness of the product. If needed, we recommend trimming the hair to about 1/8″ rather than shaving it.

      KT Tape.

  2. Oh, my! I hadn’t thought about this! I’m still sort of cringing imagining how awful that would be. But at least the pain of having your leg hair ripped out would take your mind off whatever previously ailed you!

    • Kaveh

      I don’t think the issue is that it hurts taking it off as much as it is the fact that the tape doesn’t work as well when you have hair. I met some reps for KT (or maybe it was SpiderTech) tape at a conference once and that’s what they told me.

  3. swimmykimy

    I have been meaning to use this out of my MCM goody bag as well! I don’t have any nagging injuries (YET), but I look forward to using it!

  4. I still have a package of blue KT s from a race goody bag. Saving it for a rainy day – and / or a sore knee.
    Now I know how to use it!
    Thanks for the vid link.

  5. I have had a sample of KT tape for a while that I was also curious about. I haven’t really had any issues other that shins off and on and posterior tibial tendonitis. I went on their website today and “Asked the Expert” if there was an application for posterior tibial tendonitis. In less than an hour, I received a response with a pdf file showing application for my issue. I will try it out on my Wednesday run.

  6. Kim

    I used the KT tape (also pink) to run the ING Half Marathon in Atl in March. I had a nagging IT band issue and when I was at the expo, the KT Tape people had a booth and taped me up! It worked like a charm! I have also tried it for plantar fasciitis, but I didn’t notice the same results. That may also be due to my not applying it right. LOL!

    Kim

  7. my fiance has used this before (and i’m kind of jealous – it seems so cool!). his staying-on was hit or miss. some days it seemed to stay on better than others; some times it seemed to actually last for the “multiple days of wear” it advertises.

    sure it may be pricey, but if it works it’s an easy and non-invasive method! and hopefully if we do have to use it, it won’t be for long so we don’t break the bank :)

  8. Joe

    Same concept as compression clothes? If so I’m sold. I haven’t run without compression tights in years.

  9. Kevin

    I’ve had some success with KT Tape on my knee. It definitely out performed 3 or 4 different braces/bands I’ve tried.

    You don’t have to be hairless to try it. I’m pretty sure the kt tape website says something about it actually adhering and working a little better if hair is present but if it bothers you trim it down to like an 1/8″. I don’t think it hurts as bad as a bandaid coming off (And no where near as bad as athletic tape!).

    I’ve had good success with it adhering for 3-5 days. When I apply it I make sure my skin is clean and I usually wipe the area with rubbing alcohol before application. And I usually apply it at night before going to bed or at least a 1/2 hour before any activity. I guess body heat makes the tape adhere. I wonder if you could take a hair dryer to it after you apply it and get it to adhere quicker?

    Not that I want any injuries or soreness, but I’m interested in trying it out on some other applications.

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  13. ginachiarella

    I’ve used it twice for a bunion, overnight. The first time I had to remove it after about an hour as it was too painful. I suspect I had stretched it too much. For a bunion, you are essentially correcting the “tilt” of the big toe by force, like baces on teeth. I tried it again last night, using less stretch. No pain. This morning my bunion has reduced easily 5%!!! I will continue nightly. Big downside is that the tape won’t stay on more than one night.

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