No doubt you've noticed that colorful stuff circling the legs of pro cyclists, and maybe even some of your club-ride buddies. It's called kinesiology tape, and it supports muscles and connective tissues around an injury without hindering movement. It also reduces pressure on pain receptors and promotes blood flow, which can speed healing. In one study, those treated with kinesiology tape reported an immediate improvement in pain, while those who got dummy tape did not. And it helps promote better riding form. "The tape increases your awareness of where the targeted muscles are relative to each other--which can improve your alignment," says physical therapist and ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell.
Pain Prevention Tip: Protect Your Knees From Pain With These Tips
Follow these instructions from Christie Hill, a licensed physical therapist assistant at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Colorado, to wrap a sore knee.
1. Sit with your leg extended. Place a strip of tape from midthigh to the top of your knee.
2. Bend your knee 90 degrees and, starting at the bottom of the first piece, place a strip around each side of the kneecap, crossing at the bottom.
3. Starting slightly below the knee, wrap a strip around each side of the kneecap, crossing them over the top. There should be little to no stretch in the tape. "Apply it prior to a ride, and leave it on for up to three days," Hill says. See your doctor if symptoms persist.