Football fans (and fans of many types of professional sport) will have noticed more and more athletes using brightly coloured tape. K-Tape (Kinesio tape to use its full name) has been gaining in popularity with perhaps the most recognisable advocate being Wales’ and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale.
But does it work?
Well the first thing to address is the point of tape in general as it’s something you’ll find plenty of physios using. When used correctly, the number 1 function of tape is to support injured or weak structures (such as over-worked muscles or ligaments as well as offloading inflamed joints).
Tape can be useful at certain times for very specific needs. So if you’ve been training for a year for an event and it’s to help get you to the finish line with a niggle then tape can be useful.
The difference with K-tape is that it claims to improve performance in a variety of ways, from improved healing through to increased strength.
So is sticking some brightly coloured tape on your legs going to help you get that PB or score from 35 yards? Probably not.
Tape can be a great short term fix but I’m yet to see any evidence that K-Tape (or any kind of tape) can provide the same benefits as better training or strengthening. There are a variety of conflicting reports out there about K-Tape, with some arguing it can work all kinds of wonders and others, like myself, still skeptical.
So if you’re thinking of using K-Tape then firstly you need to ask yourself why – are you hoping to just get through an event or is this something you find yourself needing regularly? If you fall into the latter category then it’s time to look at your training and addressing the underlying issues. If it’s something that tape can solve in the short-term then it’s something that better training and strengthening can improve in the long-term.