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How to Tape for Runner's Knee Pain

by Patty Weasler, RN July 30, 2020 0 Comments

Knee with tape

Taping for runner’s knee pain is one effective strategy used to support the knee and surrounding structures. Runner’s knee can affect anyone, not just runners, making it important to find adequate injury protection during physical activity. Keep reading to learn more about how taping can offer support, compression, and other benefits.

Benefits of Taping

Taping has multiple benefits when used for knee pain caused by runner’s knee. Tape should be used in conjunction with other treatments during rehab to reap the best results. Check out our list of all the benefits of taping for runner’s knee pain:

  • Increases proprioception
  • Supports the joint
  • Boosts circulation
  • Decreases pain
  • Prevents reinjury
  • Improves healing time
  • Medication-free 

How Does Taping Work?

Kinesiology tape works very differently than athletic tape, which restricts your range of motion by creating a knee brace-like structure around your joint. Kinesio tape works by reducing pain by changing how your body perceives pain, minimizing pressure, and creating better proprioception. Both types of tape have their places in sports medicine, it just depends on what the user is trying to achieve with the tape. 

Athletic Taping vs Kinesio Taping

Athletic and kinesiology taping each have their benefits and downsides. When used for runner’s knee you’ll need to make your decision on which type of tape you need based on the result you are looking to achieve. Here are a few points about both types of tape for you to consider when making your choice.

  • Athletic Tape

  • Stiff, restrictive, and provides better full knee support
  • Not breathable and cannot be worn as long as kinesiology tape
  • Easier to find and tends to be less expensive
  • Kinesio tape 

  • More comfortable and breathable
  • Can be worn for multiple days and can get wet
  • Moves with your body and doesn’t restrict movement

Taping Techniques

Before you begin taping make sure you have all the supplies you need. Tape, scissors, pre-wrap, and a clean knee and leg to ensure the tape adhesive sticks. Some KT tape comes precut, so just grab the correct size for your leg. Once you have everything ready check out these step by step guides below.

Athletic Tape

This method is called patella taping and uses rigid tape to correct the alignment of the patella. Athletic tape can be left on until it gets wet or for up to 18 hours.

Supplies Needed:

  • Scissors
  • Rigid tape (1 ½ inch wide)
  • Low allergy or elastic tape (1 ½ inch wide)
  1. Place low allergy tape over the front of the knee to protect the skin and act as an anchor.
  2. With a piece of rigid tape, place it towards the top of the kneecap. Lay the end of the tape that is on the lateral (outside) side of the knee and pull the medial (inside) end of the tape so that it pulls the kneecap medially. Repeat with two more pieces of tape.
  3. Place one piece of rigid tape on the ends, perpendicular to the pieces you just laid down.

Kinesiology Tape

This taping technique is used for general knee injuries and pain, including runner’s knee. Kinesiology tape can get wet and can be worn for multiple days until it begins to peel off.

Supplies Need:

  • Scissors
  • Kinesiology tape
  1. Measure from just below your kneecap to just past your kneecap and cut two pieces that length.
  2. Bend your knee at a 90 angle and anchor one end of the tape at the top of your knee and bring the tape down around your kneecap, making a C shape.
  3. Repeat with the second piece of tape on the other side of the kneecap.
  4. Cut a piece of kinesiology tape approximately 5 inches long.
  5. Take the backing off of the tape and put the middle of the tape just below your kneecap.
  6. With 50% tension gently use the tape to pull your kneecap up and then lay the ends of the tape down.

When to Try Taping

If you have runner’s knee, taping is one of the conservative treatments used to help reduce pain. You’ll get the best results if you combine it with other treatments like rest, ice, medication, and exercise. It’s important that you tape your knee before doing any workouts or activities that cause the classic anterior knee pain that is associated with runner’s knee. Since taping has almost no side effects, there is little downside to giving it a try!

Looking for the right runner’s knee treatment for you? See our guide here.

Safe and Effective Taping for Runner’s Knee Pain

Running injuries like runner’s knee is a painful condition that causes pain and discomfort with movement that causes you to bend your knee. Knee taping is one treatment option that can be done at home, with minimal expense. It’s most effective when combined with other treatments. Always talk to your doctor or physical therapist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-tape-a-knee#for-pain-relief

https://www.physio-pedia.com/Knee_Taping

SHOP RUNNER'S KNEE PRODUCTS

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Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.



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