How to use kinesiology tape to treat anterior knee pain

Kinesiology tape or 'KT' tape can help to ease knee pain symptoms. Here's how to apply it

Clock16:30, Monday 11th September 2023

What is kinesiology tape?

Kinesiology tape is elastic therapeutic tape designed to support muscles and joints during injuries. If you have anterior knee pain – that is pain in the front of your knee, under the knee cap – kinesiology tape can help.

Does kinesiology tape cure knee pain?

Remember, although this tape is a good last resort, the best thing to do is to find the cause of your knee pain. Kinesiology tape might ease the symptoms, but it won't resolve the issue that's making your knee hurt in the first place.

How to apply kinesiology tape

Even so, there are times when a quick fix is the best option, so here's our step-by-step guide for applying kinesiology tape to treat anterior knee pain, led by Matt Rabin, the Head of Athlete Care for EF Education-EasyPost.

By taping your knee, you can correct the tracking of your patella, alleviating that pesky knee pain.

This process requires two pieces of tape, which we'll first of all measure and cut, then apply.

Measure your first piece of KT tape

Measure the first piece of tape

Measure the first piece of tape. Sitting on a chair or stool with your feet on the ground, place the end of the roll of tape halfway along the top of the thigh, high enough so that it can tuck neatly under your cycling shorts without the end of the tape getting caught on the hem. Unroll the tape towards your knee, stopping at the bottom edge of the knee cap. Make a note of this point, then cut the tape to size.

Shape your first piece of KT tape as shown

Shape the first piece of tape

Place the cut piece of tape back in place, running from halfway along your thigh to the bottom of your knee cap, then fold it at the top of the knee cap. With scissors, split the tape in two, from the short end that was sitting over your kneecap. Use the scissors to bevel the edges and round off any corners.

Measure the second piece of KT tape

Measure then cut the second piece of tape

To measure the second piece of tape, wrap the tape around your knee horizontally. Leave enough to wrap around the front and sides of your knee, plus a few centimetres at each end. Use the scissors to bevel the edges and round off the corners.

Apply the first piece of KT tape

Apply the first piece of tape

Starting from the mid-thigh, and with the un-split end of the tape, stick the first piece of tape to your leg, peeling off the backing paper as you go. Pause when you reach the top of the knee cap, and tear off the backing paper you've got hanging off, leaving just the two split ends, each with their backing paper still intact.

Starting with the inner piece, peel off the backing paper and stick the split ends in place. They should run around your kneecap, and be under a little bit of tension.

Apply the second piece of KT tape

Apply the second piece of tape

To apply the second piece of tape, start by tearing the backing paper in half at the midpoint, so you can peel it off from the centre as you would with a plaster or bandaid. From the centre, expose about an inch or about 3cm of tape. Pull it tight and apply it horizontally across the knee, so it covers just the lower half of the kneecap.

Starting with the inside, peel off the backing paper, gently stretch the tape to about 10% more than its usual length, then apply it to the skin. These ends should err upwards slightly towards the first piece of tape.

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