SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: KT Tape for Snowshoers

“I’m a snowshoer and KT Tape was my idea!”

I wish.  But I certainly think I found a great product for snowshoers.  KT Tape (short for Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape) is a sports tape that’s elastic, durable, strong, and provides pain relief and support.  If suffering from sore muscles and joints – or just your classic sports injury – a couple strips of KT Tape will relieve the pains that would normally prevent further activity.  For snowshoeing, it’s a wonderful addition to a first aid kit and doesn’t take up precious daypack space.

KT Tape is available in an assortment of colors and each 16-foot roll has 20 pre-cut strips – no cutting necessary, just convenience.  This enables a quick and easy solution for a reduction in muscle pain, provides a boost in mobility during an injury, and enhances performance.  Each box of tape provides a foldout sheet of instructions on how to apply KT Tape to specific areas of the body, depending on the injury.    

My first KT Tape experience was in Montana.  After a full day of snowshoeing through Glacier National Park (and an evening of sipping on some good Montana beer) I suffered from some lower back pain.  A quick KT Tape application created enough support that made simple movements more tolerable.  Plus, I was able to sleep soundly while several strips of KT Tape clung to my lower back.  

The next morning, I jumped into the shower and forgot about the KT Tape.  Surprisingly, it stayed on without peeling or losing adhesion.  Why remove it now?  I kept it on for my snowshoe hike, putting it through a thorough test.  But what I missed entirely was the absence of further back pain.  I forgot it existed because it wasn’t nagging my every movement.  So far, KT Tape was a hit.  

After a day of snowshoeing, I had no lower back pain issues.  In fact, I was more focused on my blistering heels that irritated me after hours of consistent switchbacks and rapid ascents on snowshoes.  If the situation ever occurs again, I’ll test KT Tape as a moleskin.  One strip would protect my entire heel and then wrap around the top of my foot.  It’s worth a try.  

Later in the day, I checked my KT Tape lower back configuration and a couple strips had lost their adhesion.  In KT Tape’s defense, the combination of backpack movement and sweat made it difficult for it to stay in place.  No lower back pain to report!  All good.

Here’s a video providing instructions on how to apply KT Tape to the lower back: http://www.kttape.com/instructions/back-pain.  

Using KT Tape is a unique experience.  I also used it on a recent calf muscle strain.  After some aggressive training on a stationary bike, I used two strips to ease the pain and to help heal the injury overnight (I had more biking to do the next day).  And for snowshoeing, in my opinion, KT Tape works.  It’s Snowshoe Magazine-approved.

Here are some tips from the KT Tape website:

1) Make sure your skin is clean and dry before you apply the tape. If you have lotion or oil on the tape will not stick well.

2) Do not stretch the first 1 1/2? or last 1 1/2? of the tape on either end. If the ends get stretched the tape will pull the ends up.

3) After you apply a strip- rub the tape with you hand to make sure the edges are down and to activate the adhesive.

*Do not use KT Tape if you have been diagnosed with cancer as it may interfere with treatment and disease management strategies employed by your medical professionals.

*Do not use KT tape on abdominal applications if pregnant.

For more information on KT Tape, visit http://www.kttape.com.