How To Strap Your Knee

how to strap a knee
  • There are several ways in which a knee can be strapped or taped, and the type of knee pain you experience will dictate it.
  • You can strap your knee using a rigid splint or tape it using any of the commercial flexible tapes.
  • When knee pain has become an issue, knee taping can provide some relief in the short term. 
  • You will need to book an appointment with a physiotherapist to correctly diagnose your pain’s cause and offer the right treatment plan to resolve the issue long-term.
  • Let’s look at what causes the most common knee injuries and how you can protect yourself with the correct knee strapping techniques when the need arises.

Skills Training College provides accredited First Aid Training courses that teach you how to bandage limbs, joints and wounds.

The Three Most Common Knee Injuries

If you experience knee pain regularly, it may be caused by one of these three common knee injuries.

Strap your knee Ligament Meniscus Tear Knee Fractures And Dislocations

1. Meniscus Tears:

Sudden or awkward movements that involve twisting or pivoting can cause you to tear your meniscus. This is the most common knee injury and will heal quickly if looked after correctly. This type of knee injury is common in any sport that involves sudden sharp directional changes, like tennis or football, as an example.

2. Ligament Tears: 

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), on the front of your knee is Most common
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), back of the knee is Fairly uncommon
  • Medial cruciate ligament (MCL), inside the knee is Second most common
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL), outer side of the knee

ACL tears are the most common knee injury experienced or reported and the most painful to experience. They are predominantly caused by changing direction too quickly or landing awkwardly. To be fair, almost all knee injuries result from an awkward movement that forces the muscles to stretch in a way it was not designed to move under force.

3. Fractures And Dislocations:

The kneecap is called the patella. Most knee fractures and dislocations are caused by a significant blow, fall, or vehicle-based accident. Vehicle-based accidents include:

  • Skateboarding
  • Skiing
  • Skating
  • Motorbike dismounts
  • Falling off bicycles
  • Car accidents
Vehicle-based accidents Skateboarding Skiing Skating Motorbike dismounts Falling off bicycles Car accidents

Other Common Causes are:

  • Martial arts/ MMA/ Wrestling/kickboxing etc.
  • Contact sports like rugby, football, soccer etc.
  • Skiing: water and snow skiing, snowboarding, wakeboarding etc.
  • Tennis/ interval training/ squash etc.
  • Running/ jogging/ triathlons or long-distance marathon training etc.

Humans are actually born without a patella. It is between the ages of 2-6 that children form a patella, and by age ten, it should be one solid hard bone that floats on top of the knee, held in place by the muscles mentioned above. Knee bones can form abnormally, causing the knee structure to be weak and subject to damage and injury easily. A direct hard knock or twisting of the lower portion of the limb can cause the kneecap to dislocate. In some situations, this may correct itself quickly, and in others may require surgical correction and repair of the damaged ligaments.

Knee Strapping Techniques

  1. Knee taping with commercial sport strapping tape is designed to provide pain relief and support and protect the knee joint from damage when moving. Strapping tape is extremely flexible and allows the joint to move freely but with support given to the knee as a result of using the tape to hold the skin and kneecap in position.See the Elastoplast knee strapping video presented by Dr Peter Larkins below.

2. A secondary option for strapping a knee is called the Figure 8 bandage, as demonstrated by Dr Pramod Kumar MS, MCh, DNB below. The Figure 8 bandage is semi-flexible but maintains firm support and limits the range of movement the kneecap can undertake.

3. The last strapping technique is a brace. Braces are designed to be fixed into a set position and are often seen on people who have had surgery and damaged the patella or all of the ligaments. The brace reduces any movement and allows the surgeon to set the degree of movement they want the knee to undertake and no more. Braces are typically worn for 4-8 weeks as an average and will depend on the injury type and the person’s healing.

Does Strapping Your Knee Help With The Pain

The short answer is YES. Knee strapping is often done to improve stability in the knee/s. Strapping or taping can assist in reducing and minimising any pain experienced from an excessive range of motion during physical activity by limiting that range of motion to some degree, making it more comfortable to undertake the task or continue with the activity.

Is It Better To Tape Or Brace A Knee

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as it will depend on what caused the knee injury or soft tissue damage.

What Is RockTape

RockTape is currently touted to be the world’s best kinesiology tape. It can be used to treat injuries like:

  • shin splints
  • plantar fasciitis
  • runner’s knee
  • back pain

RockTape microscopically lifts the skin away from the muscle and fascia below, creating a decompressive effect that reduces pain and allows the fluids below to move freely.

RockTape has become the “go-to” option in the taping game for all types of pain, with an emphasis on knee pain. It is suitable for use on children, adults, and the elderly with fragile skin. It is proving to have benefits for the older population, with help in reducing arthritis pain.

Due to the flexible nature of RockTape, it allows a full range of movement for everyday tasks and sporting activities while providing comfortable support without unnecessarily restricting movement. RockTape is hypoallergenic, containing no latex or zinc oxide, making it suitable for most people with allergies to traditional tape adhesives.

rock tape kinesiology

Knee Conditions That RockTape Is Ideal For Are:

  • Resolving ligament injuries such as medial collateral ligament injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Patellofemoral pain, aka runner’s knee, anterior knee pain
  • Osgood-Schlatter’s condition
  • Patella tendinitis
There are many ways to tape or strap a knee. Everyone has their favourite method. Ideally, if knee pain is a problem, you need to see a specialist and have the situation correctly diagnosed. They will teach you how to strap your specific injury so it has the maximum corrective impact for you. No two situations are identical, nor will they require the same taping or strapping methods.

The Best Strap Application Method For Knee Pain Depends On

  • The cause of the pain
  • What activities will you be undertaking
  • What size tape you have on hand to tape or strap with
  • Which method you find the easiest to apply and is correct for your injury type
  • What treatment your physiotherapist recommends
  • How long have you had the injury or pain

Further Reading Material

This is the third article of six on How To Give Emergency First Aid.

The fourth article in this series of six articles is: Elbow Brace And Support: How To Fit It.

Read the second article in this series called: How To Bandage A Hand.