This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
I think it’s also important to understand how it likely does not help athletes. On that front, we have a study looking at how Kinesio tape affects strength in fatigued muscles. Rugby players but, presumably, fatigued muscles are fatigued muscles. Whether you’re running a race or playing a rugby match, fatigue acts in similar ways.
The results in this case aren’t all that promising:
No statistical differences were found between the taped and un-taped conditions in non-fatigued and fatigued situation as well as in the interaction with fatigue. Therefore, taping the gluteal muscle does not influence the leg explosive strength after fatiguing in healthy rugby players.
I believe the importance here is that we now know a little about how Kinesio tape likely does help and a little about how it likely doesn’t help. It’s important to know where we can expect to see benefit and where we can’t with any tool so we can make sure we are using the tool in the best ways. In this case, use Kinesio tape to reduce pain and aid in recovery. Do not use it to try to beat fatigue.
Social distress and physical pain
Have you ever run a race or a hard workout after getting in an argument with a significant other or good friend? It probably didn’t go well, did it?
The current study results indicate that participants’ pre-Cyberball unpleasantness threshold is related to their responsiveness to social distress and that physical pain may be modulated by social events. Further studies are needed to clarify the clinical relevance of these results.
We know that social stress does some of the same things within our brains as physical stress. It shouldn’t be shocking that social stress would lower our threshold of physical pain. That’s what this study seems to confirm.
So next time you have a bad race or workout while dealing with a heavy social situation, cut yourself some slack. It’s possible you are just feeling the effects of that situation. Take care of your personal life and your running will bounce back.