Hello, Team CFO. I’m Nina.
I’m a newer crossfit enthusiast with only a little over 5 months at CFO under my belt. Like Charles, I’m a regular over at the Clinton Hill location and have been recruited by Shimi to lend a hand with the blog. (If you are new to crossfit like me, make sure you check out Charles’ blog with some great advice.)
When working on athletic techniques and and building strength, the fun part is learning new movement patterns and hitting new PRs. Unfortunately, the not-so-fun part might be some of the aches and pains you feel in the process. 3 months into my crossfit journey, when I’m just finally starting to nail those double unders, it hit me: shin splints.
As a classically trained dancer and certified fitness instructor, most of my income demands a lot on my body. So I’m always looking for new ways of pain management and recovery without taking too much time off. Plus, I want to get back to those dubs asap. One new helpful thing I discovered in my own personal recovery journey from shin splints was Kinesiology Tape. This tape can be applied to the body using different patterns and tensions in order to support minor soft tissue injuries.
What is it?
First designed in 1979 by Japanese chiropractor, acupuncturist, and manual therapy expert Dr. Kenzo Kase as a way to support his clients in between sessions, kinesiology tape is made of stretchy nylon or cotton fabric with a wave pattern that allows the tape to breathe. It’s waterproof and will stick with you through those sweaty WODs and even that post-WOD epsom salt bath.
The adhesive is heat-activated, and you can wear it for 3-4 days. The specific technique for application varies based on what area you are treating and what your desired goal is.
How does it work?
The tape is doing two things. It’s offering some extra support to your weakened muscles while lifting up the skin so that things can breathe and flow properly underneath.
In more depth, our bodies have this netting around our muscles called fascia. The more we use our bodies, the more this fascia can get tight and knotty. The health of this fascia is key for maintaining proper movement patterns. This is why we dig into those foam rollers and lacrosse balls for relief (thank you, Mike’s Recovery Class).
Kinesiology tape creates a support system for that fascia to function properly, thus allowing for better muscle activation and movement patterns during injury. Additionally, the strong adhesive combined with the elasticity of the fabric lifts the epidermis allowing for better blow flood, which is absolutely crucial for the healing process.
Kinesiology tape alone is not going to magically fix your problem. It offers temporary pain relief and stability, while you are working on correcting the underlying issue with trained professionals. When you feel an injury, you want to first have it looked at by a clinical professional. Many chiropractors, massage therapists, etc are actually certified in kinesio taping methods, so reach out to whomever you regularly work with.
Where can I get some?
One google search will give you many options to choose from. These are the two I’ve tried:
KT Tape http://www.kttape.com/
The strips are pre-cut, and they have a collection of youtube videos on how to treat common injuries. They do have a “pro” line which is supposed to stay on longer and give more support, but I didn’t see much of a difference. Check out their youtube channel.
Rock Tape http://www.rocktape.com/
This is the most popular brand in my opinion. They actually have some dedicated videos on how to tape for each Crossfit Open workout. Check out their youtube channel.
Some sources are skeptical on how much scientific benefit there is from kinesiology tape, but I had great results adding it to my own personal athletic practice. The tape is cheap, only $10-15 per roll, and there are a million youtube videos showing you how to do it. If you have any minor overuse injuries that regularly creep up on you, I think it’s worth a try.