Thursday, 5 April 2012

Leave it to the professionals

In my endless search for something - anything! - that will heal my calf injury more quickly than it wants to do on its own, I came across KT tape.  KT (or, kinesiology) tape is meant to provide stability, support, and pain relief for various injuries; I asked Adam about it, and he thought that it wouldn't hurt to give it a try, so I ordered a couple of rolls from Amazon (pink & purple - there's no reason for supportive strapping to be dull). 

Not my calves & not Bassman's foot
There are a bazillion different ways that one can tape a calf.  For someone who has a difficult time choosing, this presented me with quite the dilemma.  It's also really hard to tape one's calf oneself which meant that I had to ask Bassman for help, and we all know how much I hate having to ask for things.  However, needs must.

I narrowed the options down to three, thanks to YouTube.  My first attempt peeled off after a day, but my calf did feel a bit better with it on.  For the second attempt, after much shouting, directing, and walking off in a huff (all on my part - Bassman remained patient as ever), Bassman got me taped up to resemble the photo on the right.  I was amazed at the almost instantaneous reduction in pain, which lasted until the tape came loose a few days later.

I tried the third taping configuration next, but did it myself this time.  I also pulled the tape snugger than Bassman had, figuring that a bit of extra support could only be a good thing.  And then I headed off to Shetland.  Once I was settled into the flat, I walked a very brisk and pain-free 15 minutes to Tesco and spent a pain-free 20 minutes wandering up and down the aisles.  The walk back to the flat, much to my dismay, hurt.  A lot.  I limped most of the way and even had to stop a couple of times to let the pain subside.

By the next day, not only was my calf still very sore but my hip joint was sore as well.  In fact, my hip hurt so much that I spent the first hour at work terrifying myself by googling 'stress fractures'.  I limped around work all day, then limped to the gym.  The bike and elliptical didn't feel too bad, but the walk home hurt so much that I wanted to cry.  By the time I got back to the flat, I was aware that the tape was pulling at my calf so I took it off.  Immediate relief.

By the next morning, I was pain-free again and have remained so ever since.  Puzzling?  Mmmm, not really.  Every KT tape video says over and over again, 'Don't put any stretch on the tape!!!'.  Not only did I contravene the Supreme Taping Rule, I also changed the placement of the tape slightly from what the video showed.  I think that the too-snug tape and the incorrect tape placement combined to interfere with the proper working of my calf muscle which had a knock-on effect for how my entire leg functioned.  Sheesh, I though that this tape was only going to be a pretty pink and purple placebo.  Who knew that it's actually a powerful clinical tool?

Adam texted me yesterday to see how I was doing and, in response to my whingeing about how the tape had injured me, said, 'I think you had the tape on too tight.  You should have asked me for help.'  I've learned my lesson.  Next time, I'll leave it to the professionals. Or, at the very least, to Bassman.


  1. Paul swears by this tape; he was prescribed/recommended it by a physio for his chronic calf injuries, and it worked wonders. Hope it continues to do the same for you.

  2. There's a fine line between swearing by and swearing at...I think that I crossed it with my over-enthusiastic taping behaviour!

  3. Have you tried Rocktape? They have some very good videos on their site on how to use it.

  4. It's very similar to KT tape...I had a look at their website (ta!), and it's yet another variation of how to do it. It's frustrating, because all of the videos for taping a calf strain assume that the strain is in the centre of the calf whereas mine is much more lateral - almost at the point where the hamstring tendon attaches to the gastrocnemius - & I'm not sure how to allow for the different angle of muscle movement. Will wait until I see Adam on Monday!

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  6. Just to clarify that there were no offensive statements contained in Bassman's comment. We're trying to figure out why the time stamp on the comments is so wrong & I deleted his 'testing testing' comment. Sorry, dear, didn't mean to make you look like a stalker! xxx