How to Get Kinesiology Tape to Stick

May 2, 2015 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Sports 

Most of you know how much I like kinesiology tape for taping feet. Over the years, I have used several brands and refined my taping skills. I can tape any part of the foot, and for any blisters or prevention desired.

As I have talked to others who tape, runners or crews, or medical people, I have heard stories of tape not sticking as well as needed. And I have seen first-hand tape coming off – generally because of a lack of skin preparation and taping skill levels.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see an article over at www.theratape.com about How to Get Kinesiology Tape to Stick – the 6 P’s of kinesiology Taping.

Kinesiology tape at the base of the big toe

Kinesiology tape at the base of the big toe

When properly applied, kinesiology tape will stick for days through all kinds of conditions. When improperly applied, it may last for less than a day, or in some cases, only a few hours.

The article at Theratape.com identifies three phases to taping: skin preparation, tape preparation and application, and wearing the tape.

Here is a summary of the three phases.

Phase 1: Skin Preparation

  • The skin must be completely dry before applying the tape
  • The skin needs to be clean

Phase 2: Tape Preparation and Application

  • Use good quality tape
  • Round the corners
  • Don’t touch the adhesive
  • Go easy on the stretch
  • All strips must end on skin, not on another piece of tape
  • Activate the adhesive

Phase 3: Wearing the Tape

  • Avoid contact at the ends

This is a very good article and you’ll learn a lot about taping with kinesiology tape. Click of the link to read How to Get Kinesiology Tape to Stick.

What you didn’t read is a few things we have learned when using the tape on feet. The typical use of kinesiology tape is for injuries to muscle and soft tissue, very different than taping feet. Once you put the tape on feet and go running through streams, dust, mud, swamps, and other adverse conditions, things change. There are more stressors on the tape and many times its applied just moments before resuming your adventure.

Here are my extra tips exclusive to taping feet:

  • Use a tape adherent on the skin
  • For extra tough cases, run a strip of tape adherent over the edges of the tape/skin
  • Apply the tape the day before your run if possible
  • Make sure you apply either a thin layer of powder or lubricant over any remaining exposed tape adherent
  • Always roll your socks on and off to avoid pulling the tape loose

While you are Threatape.com, check out their line of kinesiology tapes and supplies. Their website offers a lot of information about kinesiology tapes, information about different brands, application instructions, and videos by body part and brand. I have worked with the good folks at Theratape for several years and love their products and service. For medical professionals, they also offer a professional discount.

Kinesiology Tapes

February 24, 2015 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products 

If you have followed my blog long enough, you’ll know I have a preference for kinesiology tapes for protective taping before a race and patching blisters during a race.

Over the years I have used many different types of tape – most of which I no longer use. The one tape that has stood the test of time is the kinesiology tape. There are several to choose from including Kinesio Tex, Rock Tape, StrengthTape, and others. Since Kinesio Tex is a trademarked name of a brand of kinesiology tape, we should not use the term Kinesio tape when talking about a different brand than Kinesio Tex. For example, Rock Tape is a kinesiology tape, not Kinesio Rock Tape.

Last year I provided foot care at the Jungle Marathon Amazon and took Leukotape, Rock Tape H20 and StrengthTape. In the end, I stopped using the Leukotape because of the tape residue it left on the skin.

Here’s how I judge tapes:

  • I don’t want tape residue on the skin when the tape is removed or comes off
  • I don’t want a tape that is coarse
  • I don’t want a tape that is thick
  • I want a tape with superior adhesive
  • I want a tape that will hold in wet conditions
  • I want a tape that will conform (at least somewhat) to the shape and curves of the foot and toes
  • I want a tape that does not lose it sticking ability or workability in cold or hot conditions
  • I want a tape that can be used on all parts of the foot
  • I want a tape that is as smooth as possible
StrengthTape in the Amazon

StrengthTape in the Amazon

The benefits of kinesiology tapes are their stretchiness in length, softness, and smoothness, which allows them to be molded to the shape and curves of the foot and toes. In the image here you can see how the tape has molded to the toes and space between the toes. Imagine trying to patch a blister at the base of the large toe. Most tapes will fail at this because of their inflexibility or thickness, meaning they cannot mold around the toe into the fold at the base of the toe and onto the toe and ball of the foot. Kinesiology tape can do this with no creases or overlaps in the tape.

My favorite kinesiology tapes are Rock Tape H20 and StrengthTape. Both have excellent adhesive stickiness, even in wet conditions. The best application tip for kinesiology tape is to apply it the evening or night before your race. Use a tape adherent and after applying the tape to the skin, rub it for 15-20 seconds to warm the adhesive so it will stick better. Then put on the socks you’ll wear the next day. I have used these tapes in the Amazon Jungle and they stick better than others. Certainly the grit of the sand and dirt in the jungle will compromise the long term stickiness of the tape, but I still think it’s the best tape for wet conditions when a tape adherent is used and the tape is applied correctly and ahead of time.

A helpful website that offers a lot of information about kinesiology tapes and their uses is TheraTape.com. It’s where I get my tapes. In addition to selling most brands of kinesiology tape, the site has information about the kinesiology tapes, brand information, application instructions, and videos. TheraTape provides tapes in single rolls and bulk rolls and in a variety of colors, as well as educational materials if you want to learn more about using the tape. StrengthTape is also sold by ZombieRunner.

Please understand that kinesiology tapes are designed to provide healing benefits to athletes when injured and with inflammatory conditions. The videos do not show patching feet or taping for blisters since that is not what the tape makers promote. Here is a link to learn about kinesiology tape.

TheraTape just released a comparison chart of kinesiology tapes. I have included the chart below, split into two images. Click on each image for a larger view. Here’s the link for the kinesiology tape comparison chart if you want to go directly to the website to see the chart.You can order StrengthTape or Rock Tape H20 or another other kinesiology tape from TheraTape.com or StrengthTape from the ZombieRunner link above.

Connect directly to StrengthTape and Rocktape

  • StrengthTape.com has a number of informational videos on their website and is a good way to connect with the company.
  • RockTape.com also has a website with lots of good information and videos.
Kinesiology Tape Comparison Chart 1

Kinesiology Tape Comparison Chart 1

 

Kinesiology Tape Comparison Chart 2

Kinesiology Tape Comparison Chart 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kinesiology StrengthTape in the Amazon

November 13, 2013 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Sports 
Taping in the Amazon

Taping in the Amazon

Last month I provided foot care at the Jungle Marathon Amazon. In preparation for the trip, I searched for new tapes. One of my searches turned up Theratape.com, a web-based store that specializes in kinesiology tapes and supplies. The website is a wealth of information on kinesiology tapes and kinesiology in general.

I emailed the owner, and received answers to all my questions regarding different brands of kinesiology tape. They carry many to choose from: Kinesio Tape, Nasara, PerformTex, RockTape, SpiderTech, and StrengthTape. Another brand is KT Tape. That’s seven brands to choose from.

Because I was going to the Amazon, where I knew feet would be wet, tape adherence was a major factor. The Theratape staff told me that the two best adhering tapes for wet condition were RockTape H20 and StrengthTape.

StrengthTape

StrengthTape

Three weeks before the Amazon, I tried a roll of each tape. On one foot I used a strip of StrengthTape, and another of Kinesio Tex Tape (my old standard). On the other foot I used a strip of RockTape H20 and another of LevoTape (a brand from the U.K.). I had one strip on the mid-foot, side-to-side, and another strip on the forefoot behind the toes. I did not use Compound Tincture of Benzoin as a tape adherent. The LevoTape came off on day four and the Kinesio Tex on day five. Finally on day six I removed the Rocktape H20 and the StrengthTape. Of the final two, the StrengthTape still had some stickiness left. It became my first choice of the kinesiology tapes. I promptly ordered one of the bulk rolls. Service from Theratape.com was great.

StrengthTape on Toes

StrengthTape on Toes

Here is the StrengthTape description from the theratape website: StrengthTape by LifeStrength begins with all the features of a high quality kinesiology tape, but is then “supercharged” with the addition of advanced ionic technology. Seven different minerals and gemstones are crushed into microscopic particles and infused into the tape. The natural properties of these substances create a negatively charged material that emits anions or negative ions. When applied to the skin, these negatively charged particles are readily absorbed into the body, enhancing the pain relieving and healing properties of the tape. Its 10% greater elasticity provides additional support for injuries and snap-back for performance enhancement. The proprietary AllSport extra-strong adhesive provides superior sticking power in all conditions, including water when properly applied, most applications will provide pain relief, comfort and support for 3-7 days. Uncut rolls are16’ in length and two inches in width, while each 16′ pre-cut roll contains twenty 10″ strips.

For those familiar with RockTape, I did try the RockTape H20. On the website, RockTape H2O is described as, the ultimate kinesiology tape for water sports. With an adhesive twice as strong as regular RockTape, H2O has undergone rigorous testing in the wild waters of the Pacific. H2O is a great tape for swimmers, triathletes, and other water sports participants. RockTape H20’s other features include a tighter weave and greater elasticity than other kinesiology tapes. It stays on longer and provides enhanced support, even under the toughest conditions.

In the Amazon, I used Leukotape, RockTape H20, StrengthTape, and Hypafix for between the toes. To start with, I used the StrengthTape and Rocktape equally, sometimes both on one runner. I wanted the feedback.

We had the advantage of applying the tapes in the late afternoon and evening, which allows the tape’s adhesive time to bond with the skin. After applying the tape a short 20-30 second rub was done to warm the adhesive and activate the adhesive.

Problem toes taped with StrengthTape

Problem toes taped with StrengthTape

Several things are important when using kinesiology tapes. Lay the tape on the skin and if you have to stretch the tape around a heel or toe, only apply a slight stretch. The more stretch you apply, the more likely the tape is to come loose, especially in wet conditions. Secondly, whenever possible, apply the tape the night before it is needed. At Badwater we try and tape the night before the race to give it good bonding time. At a minimum, try to apply it an hour before activity for the tape to set.

StrengthTape was the winner. Several days in to the Jungle Marathon, runners were asking for the “blue” tape (my blue StrengthTape). On some runners, the tape did not hold – but in fact no tape held up well when the runners walked around on the sand and dirt in bare feet or skimpy homemade flip-flops. The combination of the wet conditions when they finished the day’s stage followed by dirt and sand constantly worked away at the edges of the tape. That’s why we re-taped most afternoons and evenings.

We taped a lot of toes with StrengthTape, as you can see from these pictures. The runners would come into camp after finishing their stage and tell me how the tape had held up – or not. Sometimes the sand was simply too abrasive and it rubbed against the tape, working it’s way under the edges. I’d apply a light strip of Benzoin along the edge of the tape and the skin to help the edges hold better. This helped a lot.

StrengthTaped toes to fit in FiveFingers

StrengthTaped toes to fit in FiveFingers

In wet conditions, the race medical team from past years found that Injinji socks were better than other socks for blister control. Many runners wore Injinji socks. For these runners, the little toe socks of the Injinji’s was perfect to help hold the StrengthTape in place. One runner completed the race in Vibram FiveFinger Lontras, which also help hold the tape in place. To read my blog post about the survey and what worked, click on the link: A Survey About Feet From The 2012 Amazon Jungle Marathon.

In my tests, I found the RockTape H20 had good adherence, but frayed around the edges. Applying a strip of Benzoin on the edge of the tape and skin can help control the fraying.

I will be using StrengthTape at the races where I provide foot care. My stash of other brands of kinesiology tapes will be used as I learn about using the tape for its intended purpose of kinesiology.

If you are interested in ordering StrengthTape or RockTape H20, I recommend checking Theratape.com. They have generously offered a 15% discount on anyone’s first order of StrengthTape or RockTape – just use the code “fixyourfeet” in the discount code box on the order page. The discount code is good for any of the two tapes, tape size and quantity. The tapes come in a variety of colors. I welcome your feedback when you use the tape.

Disclaimer: Kinesiology is the study of human movement. The benefits of kinesiology tape include relief of pain and swelling, relaxation of overused or tight muscles, activation of weak or poorly-toned muscles, and enhancement of athletic performance. Made from cotton with a hypoallergenic acrylic adhesive, kinesiology tape is designed to be worn for 3-5 days, providing therapeutic benefits 24/7, the entire time it is worn. I apply kinesiology tape to feet because of its ability to stretch and shape to the curves of the foot, in addition to its smooth surface, adhesive, breathability and lack of leaving tape residue on the skin. If you watch the Olympics, you have probably seen kinesiology tape on athletes’ shoulders, arms and legs, and more.

High Quality Feet Pre-Taping

August 1, 2013 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footcare 

Over my years of taping feet, I have seen techniques improve to where pre-taping is more helpful then ever before.

Often times, in the middle of a race, one cannot take the time necessary to do a high-quality tape job. Things may be rushed. The runner may be in a huge hurry to make a cut-off. The feet and skin may be wet. Conditions may be less than ideal – lightening, set-up, workable access/angle to the feet, supplies, etc.

Bad Tape Job

Bad Tape Job

However, before a race, a hike, or run, there is more time to do a high quality pre-tape job. It’s also the time to practice your skills and learn how to do a really good tape job. The first photo here shows a pretty poor tape job on toes. In this photo, the tape will probably peel off from sock changes and general wear. If any one of the pieces comes off, the now untapped toe will be subject to the roughness of the tape on the neighboring toe. It looks like Leukotape, which sticks well, but does not conform to the curves of toes and other places on the foot. It is possible to do a great tape job on toes with Leukotape – but it take time and practice. I must admit I like Leukotape for certain conditions and tape jobs.

Bogies taped right foot after 157 miles

Bogies taped right foot after 157 miles

 

A good, high-quality pre-tape job should hold up well, for several days if necessary, and cared for. In this next photo, you can see the right foot of Bogie Dumitrescu after finishing a solo, self-supported crossing of Death Valley followed by up and down to Mt Whitney. You can see how the tape has held for 157 miles in the extremes of Death Valley. It’s hot on the valley floor, but there are two long uphill’s climbs followed by long downhill’s over two passes. An 11-mile trail hike follows that up to and another 11 back down Whitney. The tape job held for 157 miles! In fact it looks perfect.

The tape is Kenesio-Tex on the heels, balls of the feet and big toes. Hypafix tape is used in a figure eight cut to anchor the tape at the forward edge of the ball of the foot, between the toes, and anchored again on top of the foot. This prevents the forward edge of the tape from rolling.

Bogie's feet after 157 miles!

Bogie’s feet after 157 miles!

The next photo shows Bogie’s two feet after the tape was removed. No blisters. One of the reasons the tape held is that Bogie managed his feet well. He kept them as dry as possible. This is important in Death Valley where often Badwater runners get their feet wet when they are sprayed or doused with water in an effort to cool them.

Bogie was fortunate to have his feet taped by Denise Jones, the Badwater Blister Queen. Denise is a master at taping feet and does a precision tape job. This is not a 30-minute tape job. It takes as long as it takes to do it right. Denise and I tape almost identically. If we apply a piece of tape and it looks or feels wrong, we remove it and retape. Our aim is to get the runners on the course and able to finish with good feet.

Danny's Feet Taped Before Badwater

Danny’s Feet Taped Before Badwater

The point of this blog post is to show a good tape job that can hold up over multiple days. The final photo shows Danny Westergaard’s feet that Denise taped for Badwater three weeks ago. Danny’s feet are taped perfectly. You can see the small strip of Hypafix that Denise wrapped around Danny’s big toes to further secure the tape edges.

I commend Bogie and Danny for their runs. Bogie completed his solo self-supported Badwater crossing the week before the official Badwater ultramarathon. Danny completed his 7th Badwater, went to the summit of Whitney and then reversed direction and went back to the start for his 7th Badwater Double.

And I commend Denise Jones for her care of runner’s feet.  She’s a class act. Thanks Denise.

Kinesio, Leukotape and Hypafix tapes, as well as Compound Tincture of Benzoin and other foot care supplies are available at Zombierunner.com.

Disclosure: When you purchase through this link, I make an affiliate small amount of each sale.

When Tape Goes Bad

March 25, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Foot Care Products 

Today I worked the medical aid station at mile 20 of the Oakland Marathon. Saturday I restocked my foot care box, adding supplies that I had depleted during the past events. I also cleaned up my Baggies of patches, and other small items.

One of the things I noticed I was short was tape. I added a roll of Leukotape and some Kinesio Tex. The Leukotape was out of a box off my shelf. I knew it had been on the shelf for while, but was unsure how long.

A short time into the race, I had several runners come in for some taping over hot spots. I cleaned the skin with an alcohol wipe, assessed the problem, and peeled off a bit of Leukotape. The first strip stuck okay. But after that, I could tell the tape did not have its usual stickiness.

I unrolled more and more, but the tape was bad. It would not stick.

Thinking about it, I think the tape was several years old. Maybe even three years. I am pretty good about checking my tapes – but this one slipped by me. So my advice is to check all your tapes before a race.

Is This Tape Job Bad?

September 14, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care 

Anyone who has seen my taping knows that I put a premium on a good tape job. When I patch feet during a race, my aim is to apply tape in a way that the athlete can continue his or her run.

What this means to me is the tape must become a part of the foot – a second skin. The tape must not interfere with the fit of the foot, inside a sock, inside a shoe. That means a smooth and thin tape job. On certain occasions, I may apply a double layer of tape, it the condition of the foot warrants it. Sometimes that means an overlapping section of tape from one side of the foot to the other. It can also mean small sections of tape overlapping when one piece of tape goes on a toe side to side, and another piece bottom to top.

Hurriedly patched feet

Hurriedly patched feet

But too often tape is applied in a hurry, usually by an athlete in a hurry. He or she thinks that they don’t have time to do a good tape job – or they don’t know how. In some cases, they are by themselves in a race, other times; they may have a crew that knows little or nothing about patching feet. What they end up with is extra tape, folds in the tape, skin pinched in the tape, tape that doesn’t stick, tape where you don’t need tape, and more.

The images in the post are from the Gold Rush Adventure Race this past weekend. I will not name the team nor show faces. The racer whose feet are pictured seemed happy with his patch job. I have to assume how the tape felt was a different story. The folds in the tape must irritate the skin. The tape used was white athletic tape – and I know it doesn’t stick well. I watched the athlete wrap the tape in a hurry, tearing it off in sections.

His crewmember told me he offered to tape the athlete’s foot, but the offer was refused. He then told me he was going to buy each of the four team members a copy of Fixing Your Feet.

Feet taped with white athletic tape

Feet taped with white athletic tape

I know that some of my patch jobs don’t work. Whether that is a failure on my part is an unknown. I give each tape job my best. Sometimes the athlete is in a hurry and just wants something tossed on – which most times I try not to do. Other times the feet are in such poor condition that taping is a temporary fix at best. I often see feet that are so bad that patching is very hard. I like to say that I can patch anything – but if the skin has deteriorated with blisters or maceration that does not give good traction for the tape, then that patch may not work well over time.

I know I have some great success stories from athletes whose feet I have taped. Many times though, I don’t get feedback. That makes it hard to know whether the tape job held or how much it helped.

Is his tape job bad? The bottom line is whether it worked for him. I doubt it.

A Perfect Foot Taping Job

July 18, 2011 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care 

A question I am often asked is how to tape one’s feet. This is not a simple question. Some people are better at taping than others. Some can’t self-tape because of the hard to reach areas of their feet. Some simply don’t have the patience for it. Others have the wrong tape, or

Denise Jones with Shannon's taped feet

Denise Jones with Shannon's taped feet

have not read the how-to’s that I and others have written on the topic.

Today I want to share two pictures from Badwater. The lady pictured is Denise Jones, and I consider her one of the best at taping. She loves helping runners and has loads of patience – both of which are important. It can easily take at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete a full tape job that includes heels, balls of the feet, and toes. It can also be a backbreaking job.

The feet shown here belong to Shannon Farar-Greifer. Denise did the tape job on Wednesday – after Shannon cut her Badwater run short due to hydration/stomach issues. The taping was in preparation for Shannon’s run on Saturday at the Vermont 100. The tape held and Shannon completed Vermont.

A bottom view of Shannon's feet

A bottom view of Shannon's feet

A well-done tape job will hold for several days. The second photo shows the tape job from the bottom of the feet. You can see the detail in taping the toes. Denise is a master at taping.

For those wondering how to tape, I am working on creating a DVD showing many of the things I teach in my foot care clinics. Stay tuned here for details as I work on this project over the coming months.

The tape used is Kinesio Tex tape with a strip of Hypafix between the toes. A good tape job involves cleaning the skin, prepping the skin with Compound Tincture of Benzoin, then cutting and layering the tape in a specific order, rubbing the tape to activate the bonding character of the tape’s adhesive, applying a light power to cut and remaining stickiness of the benzoin, and finally, rolling the socks on the foot. You can shop for tape and other supplies at Zombierunner.com.

An Observation on Taping Feet

May 29, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products 

I have made an observation when taping feet and seeing athletes’ injured feet – and this affects the way I tape.

I like smooth. It reduces friction. Some tapes are smoother than others. Duct tape is smooth but does not breathe or conform to the curves of the foot. Elastikon is coarse as well as thick. Kinesio Tex, Leukotape and Endurotape are smooth.

Allow me to paint you a picture of why tape smoothness matters.

Picture the following: your skin’s outer layer typically moves against the inner layers. Then you apply a non-smooth tape to the skin, pull on a sock, and finally put your foot inside a shoe. The tape sticks to the skin. As you run, the foot naturally moves a bit inside your shoes. However, the sock cannot move freely against the coarseness of the tape. This forces the tape to move with the sock, which stresses the outer later of skin against the inner layers. The result is very sore feet. Others may not agree, but I have seen too many runners with sore feet, many at the point of not being able to run any more, and the common denominator has been non-smooth tape.

A story will illustrate this.

Ball of the foot taped with anchor figure eights

Ball of the foot taped with anchor figure eights

One year at Badwater I removed tape from the bottoms of a runner’s feet and repatched them. He had run 90 miles and had another 40 to go. Over and over he told me, “My feet hurt. I can’t run. I can’t walk.” The balls of each foot were hurting him so badly that he wanted to quit. As I carefully removed the Elastikon tape I discovered he had a small hard-cored callus on the ball of each foot. I put a small Spenco gel patch over the hard core of each callus and used two 2-inch strips of Kinesio Tex tape across the ball of the foot – from the toe crease to mid-foot. He went on to buckle. The smooth Kinesio Tex tape worked where the Elastikon did not. That said, I still think Elastikon is a good tape for some runners’ feet. I just happen to like Kinesio Tex more. For the record, I also carry Leukotape.

The above image is not of that runner’s foot. However it shows a strip of Kinesio Tex tape on the ball of a foot and two anchor strips of Hypafix between the toes. These anchor the forward edge of the ball of the foot tape which prevents it from rolling.

This same theory can be applied to insoles. We’ll talk about that later. In the meantime, if you need tapes, check out Zombierunner.com. They carry all the popular tapes.

Tips to Tape Your Feet

September 4, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Many athletes have tried to tape their feet only to find it doesn’t stick well and comes off sooner than they like. There are several reasons for this so in this post, I’ll give you some tips on taping your feet:
•    Skin is naturally oily so you must remove the oils with an alcohol wipe. I often use several wipes. These are available at most drug stores, in a very small tear-open packet.
•    If there is dirt caked on your feet, get as much as possible off the skin.

•    If taping over a hot spot, apply a very small dab of lubricant to the hot spot area so the tape will not stick.

Read more

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