On a tennis court the most frequent question I’m asked has nothing to do with my game.
“What’s that on your knees?”
Before I answer that question, let me give you a little history.
Last fall, I attended the John Newcombe tennis camp for adults in Texas (which was excellent – a subject for another post). When I returned to my local club, I started beating people that I had never beaten before. My game had suddenly jumped a level and I was on top of the world.
Until my knees started to hurt.
It’s not the first time. I’ve had chronic knee problems since I was a little girl. Usually the pain doesn’t affect my tennis or running, but it hurts later on when I go down the stairs, crouch or sit cross-legged.
I’ve tried many things, from shoes to doctors to barefoot running. Some helped. Some didn’t. None of them fixed the problem.
I stayed away from tennis for 6 weeks, but as soon as I hit the court, the pain returned.
No way was I going to give up tennis, so I headed off to physiotherapy. My hopes were pinned on my new physiotherapist Arthur, who is also a tennis coach.
I explained my past treatment history and the diagnosis of patellofemoral pain syndrome. Arthur let me down gently, “It doesn’t mean much, other than you have pain in the front of the knee. It’s hard to know why it’s happening.”
He tried a variety of treatments, most with limited success, until he suggested KT Tape. Arthur explained that tape could help keep the kneecap tracking smoothly in its groove, preventing the pain in the first place.
Although I was skeptical, I gave it a try. To my complete surprise, it worked.
Before the tape, I would have knee pain during match play that would worsen at night and the following day. After the tape, my knees didn’t hurt at all during tennis and would only ache slightly afterwards. Although it’s not a cure, the tape makes it possible for me to play – and play I do, sometimes as many as 5 days a week.
If you’re interested in trying this treatment yourself, all you need is a roll of tape (currently available at Shopper’s Drug Mart) and a pair of scissors. I taped a little “how-to” video, which you can see at the bottom of this post.
Be sure to start with clean, dry skin (no sunscreen!) and not to stretch the ends, or the tape will fall off quickly. If you buy the professional tape, you can leave it on for up to a week, although I think it feels kind of weird, and it’s definitely not fashion-friendly for wearing skirts at the office!