Couch to 5K
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Duct Tape Has More Uses Than I Thought

I just completed my third run for week 1, and I feel a sense of accomplishment, akin to saving kittens from trees or putting on a spare tire by myself with those funny jack-thingies in the trunk of cars.

I am also learning new things at each run. Today I learned a bit more about patella-femoral taping. This is a technique used by some physio or sports therapists to make the big bone in your leg (the femur) sit properly in the kneecap (the patella) so it doesn't grind and crunch and pop and HURT. Now before you run out and try it yourself, do ensure you actually need such a thing - i.e. see a specialist. In my case, my extensive physio previously included this sometimes, so I was just recreating it again.

You should have two types of special tape for this. One is a soft flexible cover that is basically skin-protector. Then there is a stiff non-stretchy tape that actually moves things around inside and holds it all in place. I had the skin protector stuff, but apparently lost or ran out of the other tape. So I tried duct tape. (I am not recommending this. Seriously, learn from my fail and don't hurt yourself.) You may call me crazy. You may call me clever. You may call me resourceful, or just plain determined. With the underlying soft tape, the duct tape actually seemed to work.

But it did some weird things to my gait. I already have a peculiar gait, as those of you who read my earlier posts may guess. What I didn't mention before is that I have been blessed with some pretty tremendous thighs. They are within a few inches in circumference (each) to my waist. They are speed skater thighs. Not ballet dancer thighs.

One consequence of my prodigious limbs is that they brush together, and also (I learned while running this week) that I sort of swing my right leg out and around my left to bring it forward and have enough room. This may be among the reasons I used to need a cane.

Anyways, with the knee taping to support my frail joints, I was unable to move fully the way I used to. I took shorter strides, and had to really push to get a full stride. It certainly gave me a good cardiovascular workout, but I think I should see a professional to make sure I am doing it correctly. (And also, I shall buy more proper tape. Duct tape was just a stand-in.)

As a consequence of this added resistance, and choosing a new route featuring a 3/4 km uphill stretch at the beginning, I didn't quite succeed at my run. During interval 2, I stumbled a bit and walked 4 paces before running again. I feel a little bad about it, but am going to call this week a success anyways. Heck, I even went farther today in this run than before: 3.05 km. So I guess a brief lapse is okay, as long as I get back in there and keep running.

It felt like a bit of a reward at the very end of my run, when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. A little nod of acknowledgement for a job well done.

In honor of the ever-useful duct tape, here is a little joke:

Q: How is duct tape like "The Force"?

A: It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the Universe together.

1 Reply

Hi Alaiyo

Congratulations on completing week one, you have done so brilliantly.

I use a patella band on every run/trot. Not sure that I would have thought about venturing into a harware store for running supplies though :)

I have to say that you are an inspiration to me. Not only are you dealing with a range of physical problems that would leave most people will severe plom (poor little ole me) syndrome, you are going out running in weather that would have me pulling the quilt further over my head!

Bravo you and keep inspiring us.


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