There's been a lot of hype surrounding Kinesio tape over the last few years, and I've had a hard time wrapping my head around exactly how tape is supposed to aid healing and prevent injury.
But this year as I've accumulated minor aches and pains, I was looking for a little something that might help me get over the aches I get in my feet and toes and the seemingly annual tightness that develops in my IT band. So I purchased a box of one-inch thick beige Kinesio tape.
Kinesio comes in both one inch and two inch thick rolls, and I chose the one-inch variety for two reasons: 1) most of my aches and pains were on my feet where two-inch tape wouldn't work well and 2) I could get twice the length for the same price. Although I think the next time I make an order from Amazon or Zombie Runner, I will probably add the 2-inch tape to my order as well.
I started out using it on my feet - I often get aches on my big toes or on the outside of my foot that threaten to balloon into a full-blown sidelining injury, but haven't yet. Normally I would actually feel better a few hours after applying the tape, and if they tape was on during the next run it wouldn't return.
But what's sold me on Kinesio tape was what happened over the past couple weeks. On Christmas Eve I ran 11.5 miles in South Carolina and my left IT band was aching the next couple days. A couple days after we got home I taped my IT band - just one piece going up the side of my leg. The tape stayed on for a couple days (they say you can wear it for up to seven days, but I'm lucky if it lasts more than one on my hairy, sweaty legs) and I wore it on my 13 mile run on the Appalachian Trail. I was totally pain-free even after running over 2 hours in cold weather (I suspect - but can't prove - that the cold affects my IT band in a bad way).
The tape came off the next day and I've run a total of nine miles since then and am just now beginning to feel a little soreness in my IT. You can bet I'll be taping up again before my long run this Saturday!
Kinesio Tape is a great product if you're experiencing aches and pains and have a recurring injury that you just need a little help in prevention. Obviously, it's not a cure-all and if you're injured so that it affects your form, you should take a day off, and if it persists for more than a few days, you should probably see a doctor.