Mistakes + Tricks: Correct Kinesiotape Training for Climbers
Above: Use of kinesiotape for abnormal joint position. As climbers use their joints in a supinated position (hands angled towards midline), joints can tend to shift and become rigid in an abnormal position. In the above photo, we used kinesiotape to help re-train this patients joint (and to load the surrounding tissue with the correct motion pattern with use).
Welcome back to Part 2 of my Kinesiotaping Application Series. In Part 1 we learned what should and should not be taped. We also learned a few application No-Nos. Now on Part 2, we delve deeper into the tricks of the trade for tape application. Rest assured, if after following these tricks your tape STILL doesn't stick, you need to buy a different brand. This tape should stay attached for a few days (and with better brands, you need to tug it off at the end of the week). If you are a hairy person, you *might* consider shaving the area of tape application. Don't worry, research shows that the tape works, even if it is only adhered to the hair. It lasts longer with these hard earned tricks from my clinic (and in in the field):
Kinesiotaping: Common Areas of Improvement
1. Skin Prep- Make sure your skin does NOT have sunscreen, lotion or climbing chalk on it. I use an alcohol prep pad, a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol on it, or if needed, a sticky adherent (Cramer Tape Adhesive Spray).
2. Tape Application Tension- The biggest issue people have with their tape is keeping it on the skin. The ends tend to peal up with those who don't know how to correctly apply it. The secret is TENSION! If there is ANY tension at the ends of your tape, it'll either peel right up OR it'll make you more susceptible to a skin reaction. (Germanics or those with an additional autoimmune issue are slightly mroe likely to have a skin reaction to tape). Blistering, redness or 'tape rash' are signs that your body doesn't like the tape adhesive). For those of you who get 'tape rash' from your tape, you might consider using a more gentle tape. I love the new pattern of Planets and Rockets that Rocktape has for SENSITIVE skin.
If you are getting a rash along the sides of your tape job, It's too tight. Don't worry, research shows JUST as much muscle recruitment with a lightly (no stretch) application of the stuff as tape that is pulled extra tight). We're using it to stimulate the skin receptors in most applications (unless its for swelling, then the tension matters, we'll cover this in Part 3).
3. Tape Edges-
If you trim or round the edges, the tape is more likely to stick to the skin. pre cut strips. Rub these down with your fingers and use your finger nail to work side to side on the edge making sure it adheres as best as it can along the entire edge. THIS will help a ton as you add sweat, motion and friction into the equation.
4. Layering. There is nothing out there that says you cannot layer this tape. If one layer feels like it isn't doing the trick, feel free to add a second layer on for extra stimulus. This also helps you keep tape on longer with less tape irritation from constant application and tearing off of the tape (and your skin). I do this for applications where the tape has been on there for a few days and it isn't pulling as hard as it once was (the elastic stretches out with time). Its also useful for those joints who don't need strong stability (such as a recovered sprained ankle) but a nice supportive compression sleeve that is made of the most minimal material out there. I also use this double layer for circular compression of hamstring injuries (as the muscle is so BIG and the fibers run more deeply as compared to other regions). Try it out in differing patterns and stretch intensities and see what works best for you.
TIP: Tape sticks best to YOUR skin, not to itself. If layering, make sure to put an edge on the skin so it stays put. I put the first later on, then make each top layer slightly longer to ensure proper tape adherence to the skin.
Want to learn more tricks for self-care and rehab? Check out my book, Climbing Injuries Solved on Amazon, ask for it your local retailer, or buy it through this website!
About Dr. Lisa
I am a practicing injury coach and sports medicine doctor in Boulder Colorado who is very fond of teaching. A past medical provider for USAC, the San Jose Ballet and for the AVP Tour, I now work full time at my medical practice providing diagnostic ultrasound and training for climbing education for difficult injuries (mainly climbers fingers, pulley injuries and elbow tendonosis cases). I currently am quite intrigued with off-width climbing and have spent 25 days of camping this year alone to climb (however I didn't get to do very much OW!!!. My favorite climbing area is 10Sleep and the climbing route that I've had the MOST fun is the moderate classic on Castleton's Kor-Ingalls route (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!). I can be seen when not climbing outside at Evo Climbing and Fitness in Louisville, Colorado or at the Boulder Rock Club in Boulder Colorado.