Rocktape UK’s medical director Pul Coker gives us the lowdown on the next big thing for runners and athletes

Few people can have failed to notice the rise of this sometimes brightly coloured tape in recent years. Whether on Gareth Bale’s legs, Andy Murray’s knee, or most recently a plaster of players in the Rugby world cup, it’s been rapidly gaining popularity with athletes and therapists alike. While some people believe that it is nothing more than a passing fad, others, myself included, have seen and felt its powerful effects in reducing pain and enhancing performance.

Every day in my clinics I see patients delighted and amazed by the effects of tape. Every time I teach a taping course I see sceptics become converts by wearing and feeling the tape work on them. Kinesiology Tape (which is the generic unbranded term for stretchy tapes like Rocktape) can be used to complement and augment the work of a wide variety of health professionals from strength and conditioning coaches to chiropractors and everything in between. Or athletes selftreating their own niggles.

If reducing pain and improving movement is what you are after, join the ‘taping revolution’ and prepare to be amazed.

Where’s the proof?

The popularity of Kinesiology Taping has grown and spread worldwide based on its clinical effectiveness to reduce pain and enhance performance rather than hard tangible evidence about how the effects are achieved. Although still in its infancy, the early signs from research studies are encouraging and a body of academic research is growing to support the positive effects of tape.

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Recent studies have shown kinesiology taping to…

  • Reduce pain and alter movement patterns in people with anterior knee pain.
  • Alter dynamic foot posture in people with shin splints.
  • Increase lower back flexibility in healthy people.
  • Speed up recovery from acute lower back pain.

Some studies, mostly on healthy subjects, have had negative findings. Most experienced tapers agree that tape will do. Some studies, mostly on healthy subjects, have had negative findings.

Most experienced tapers agree that tape will do little to healthy tissue but frequently helps wherever there is compromise, so these findings come as no surprise.