Saturday, April 6, 2013

Product Review: KT Tape

When I got back into running last fall, I immediately made the executive decision that I would start running outside at least 50% of the time as opposed to the majority of the time on my treadmill.  Little did I know that the shin splints would be back worse than ever! I don't really know why I got them so bad these last 6 months after nearly 2.5 years with barely any shin pain.  When I did a local 5K in my hometown last October, it was pretty much the last straw for me because the shin splints were unbearable! Well, I did what most people do and talked to my runner friends, did some research on the internet, and visited my local running store (The Brick in Danville, VA!).  I started off with some compression sleeves (more about those in another product review post) and those didn't help much so I tried a different brand of compression sleeves for my calves and those worked amazing for recovery after long runs but the shin splints were still excruciating painful.
THEN, a good friend/sorority sister recommended that I try KT Tape.  I did a little research about it and was unsure about buying some and trying to put it on myself.  My friend even told me how she used the tape after surgery on her foot and as well as her knees. I figured this stuff was legit after talking to my friend and my research.  KT tape is basically a brand of kinesiology tape.
Here is a really good explanation from the KT Tape website that explains how it works and the benefits of wearing the tape:
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 I ordered 2 beautiful rolls of pink and purple KT Tape before I went down to Florida for the Princess HM with every intention to try and wear it for the race but I was unsure how to apply it exactly.  I was happy to find out that there was a KT Tape booth at the race expo with trained professionals applying tape for free to one body area and more if you purchased a roll from their booth.  Well, once my sorority sis and I got to the Expo Saturday morning, we went straight to the booth to get taped.  Luckily, we were  only about 4-6 people from the front of the line and the wait wasn't too bad at all!  I watched how the KT Tape rep placed the tape on my left shin and I let her know that I wanted to do my other leg so she could explain what she did as she was doing it.
Everything seemed straightforward and I made mental notes of what I needed to do once I could grab 2 precut strips when we got back to our room.
Here's the link to INSTRUCTIONS for virtually every body part imaginable.  I love that there are actual videos and PDFs of step by step instructions that help with application.
I am a total believer in KT Tape and I can literally feel a difference when I wear the tape and when I don't during my runs (long and short).  The tape stays on in the shower and through sweating so if you're like me ( I inherited my father's genes!) then you won't have any problems! I keep the tape on for 6-7 days and then take at least one day off before re-applying more tape.  I find that wearing the tape all week for my short runs and long runs has been helpful to stay injury-free this time around.  
Here are some helpful if you are interested in trying KT Tape for whatever ailment you may have:
  • Invest in the PRO line of KT Tape.  It is worth the few extra dollars because it has a better sticking quality and actually stays on my legs longer than the regular/basic version.
  • Always always clean your skin before applying the KT Tape.  I found that if I use alcohol swabs to wipe down my lower legs then the tape sticks better.  Even if I put it on right out of the shower, I still use my alcohol swabs.
  • Make sure to rub the tape down excessively because the heat from rubbing the tape actually helps it stick.
  • If you have the funds, then invest in the Ultra Stick spray. 
    • I just purchased the skin prep combo pack of the Clean Guard spray and the Ultra Stick spray with a roll of orange Pro tape (there was a facebook coupon code last month!) and tried the UltraStick tonight and it is amazing.  I feel like the tape wouldn't come/peel off unless I forcefully pulled it off like a wax strip!!
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I've been wearing KT tape on my lower legs pretty much since I got back from Florida.  I re-apply the tape every Thursday or Sunday night and it stays on for almost a whole week! It definitely took some practice (and I'm still not perfect at application) but I have gotten the hang of it recently.
Here is my most recent application for my 8K tomorrow (eeek in like 6 hours):
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You can tell here that I got my left leg applied perfectly but on my right leg.. not so much! I could immediately feel a difference in my legs with the one that was applied properly and not.  It is ok though, I will leave it on and hopefully there won't be so much pain after my race tomorrow!  I love all the fun, different color combinations with the KT tape. So far, I've tried only pink, pink/purple, and pink/orange.
So you are probably wondering where you can get this amazing stuff that is KT Tape right?? WELL GOOD NEWS! They announced just a few months ago that they are going to start selling the Pro tape (in addition to the regular/basic tape) at CVS! See you don't have to order online.  You can do a search for your local retailers but I know in my area that CVS and Rite Aid are definitely selling the Pro tape.  I love how accessible it is becoming and I know I will be stopping by my local CVS once I run out of my current stash :)
Bottom Line-- I love this stuff and would recommend to everyone I know!

Have you ever tried KT tape? What is your favorite color? Does it work for you?? Would you ever try KT Tape?
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***DISCLAIMER: The opinions and statements about KT Tape are my own and I was NOT provided any products to sample and include on this blog.***

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