Today’s review comes from Heather Balogh, runner, cyclist, triathlete, traveler, and all around outdoor enthusiast better know as A Colorado Gal. You can read more about Heather’s favorite gear and follow all of her great adventures and training over on her blog or find her on Twitter @AColoradoGal.
RockTape is a brand of kinesiology tape that is used to help athletes recover from injuries and improve their performance. According to their website, the tape has a bias inserted into the weave so that it moves in one direction but not in the other. This weave creates a bio-mechanical reaction that helps lift the skin away from the tissue underneath in order to allow increased blood flow to the injured area. The tape even comes with a set of instructions that include step-by-step directions on how to tape the desired area.
After suffering a knee injury in August while running a half marathon, I was eager to give this tape a try. According to MRIs and X-Rays, there was nothing “wrong” with my knee. However, running was incredibly painful and on bad days, walking up and down stairs was pretty darn tough. The pain didn’t follow the typical Runner’s Knee pattern, so I was basically stuck with some serious discomfort and an inability to run. Naturally, this was the perfect time to test out RockTape.
I had a nurse friend read the instructions and tape me up up for the La Sportiva Evergold 5k trail race in Vail, Colorado. My knee pain was tolerable then, but I was completely expecting the 900 feet of elevation gain/loss to wreak havoc on my joint. If the hills didn’t annihilate my knee, I was sure that the roots and rocks would.
Miraculously, I completed the entire trail race with zero knee pain. In fact, this initial test with the RockTape was the first run since my injury where I experienced no discomfort during or after the race. Since this inaugural test run, I’ve worn the tape on road runs, trail runs, and any distance between 3-10 miles.
The Good: I honestly think RockTape really works. My knee felt sturdier while wearing the tape, and I never experienced any lingering pains. I also noticed that my frequent post-run knee ache disappeared while taped up. Additionally, the tape is very comfortable and does not pinch or pull your skin once applied. I worried that I would feel the stickiness yanking on my skin, but that was not the case. In fact, I was able to leave a single application of RockTape on my knee for 3-4 days without any problems. A single roll costs $18-20, but I have used my tape for two months and I still have at least 1/3 roll left.
The Not-So-Good: I understand that RockTape is trying to be unique by supplying the tape in a variety of bold colors. However, I really felt uncomfortable walking around with a bunch of red stripes running across my knee. I wore the tape to run at the gym one time, and it took me 15 minutes to actually get to my treadmill. The cause? No less than six people stopped me in order to ask about the colorful criss-crossing all over my leg. This may have been minimized if I was wearing the beige tape, but I have only seen red, green, purple and blue supplied in stores.
RockTape comes in a variety of colors and patterns, available online and through a variety of local retailers.