Monday, February 16, 2009

The Art of Taping

As my first Ultra looms over the horizon (Seneca Creek 50K Trail Run on March 7th), I'm beginning to worry about my feet. 

Here's an excerp from the course description on the race web site:

" ...You will have to go across the creek. Note: if we have flooding conditions or very high water we will try to have a rope across the creek ..."

That got me thinking. After my long runs or a marathon, my feet usually are ok, but I sometimes have some blisters. Even on shorter runs, I've gone through periods where all of a sudden, I get blisters because of random reason. That's in nice dry conditions. If I get my feet completely soaked, then add the sand and grit from a trail race and you have the recipe for feet hell. 

So I bought the book "Fixing Your Feet: Prevention And Treatments For Athletes" from Amazon. Real eye opener. Basically, YOU WILL eventually get blisters in Ultras and you should be ready for them. So I'm experimenting with foot care. I'm building a foot care kit and beginning to practice my taping skills. I've experimented with Duct tape, but it's pretty hard. Duct tape is not very stretchy and it's hard to do a good job, especially on the toes. Last Friday I received two rolls of Kinesio tape I purchased from What a difference! You can do a real good job with that. Maybe I shouldn't have gone with blue though, although it's kinda growing on me.

From Running

The key to a good tape job is not just the tape. You MUST clean well before and the apply tape ADHESIVE. You can use Tincture of Bezoin but for some reason, it's EXTREMELY hard to fin in Canada and US online stores won't ship it to Canada. I ordered a can of Mueller Tuffner Pretape which works well. Without adhesive, the tape comes off as soon as you start sweating. I went on a 10k run with both big toes tapes without adhesive and the tape was off when I took my socks off.

The book says you can tape the night before so you don't have to start taping at 4:00 AM before your race so Saturday night I taped my left big toe, which has been giving me some grief. I lost my nail after my October marathon and now that it's almost grown back I get some blistering at the tip of it (see previous post about Free 3.0). Before my Sunday run, I taped my other big toe, one small toe and a spot on my right foot that gets a bit tender during long runs. The thicker skin tends to macerate and turn white on longer runs. 

I wore my Injinji toe socks. My long run went well. It wasn't really long, about 14 miles, but that's the length of a loop on my 50 miler in May so I think that was a good test. The tape looked good after the run. I decided to take a shower with it to see what happened. I have to report that the tip was falling apart a bit. On the picture, you can see the tip of the right big toe opening up a bit. Next time I'll try to put more adhesive on the spots where I'll be trimming the tape.

From Running

My feet were perfect. The tape really protected them. No maceration to speak of where the tape was applied. No blister. 

Next weekend my long run is 22 miles, so that will be a REAL test.


Jamie said...

Cool beans, and the blue does look pretty funny/cool.

I've used just regular athletic tape on my feet before and it has worked pretty well. It doesn't stick well enough on the arch of my foot so I have to wrap all the way around my foot once or twice, but it is a lot cheaper than the kinesio tape. Might be worth a try too.

Shelley said...

Nice blue toes!