Kinesiology Tape For Knee Pain

Kinesiology Tape or K-Tape is an elastic therapeutic tape used to manage pain and inflammation for a variety of muscles and joints.   This is such a great treatment; definitely one of my favourites in clinic.

Patients will come in specifically asking for this treatment and often wish to learn how to do it themselves.  I find that the Olympics will get more and more people interested, since it can be witnessed in cool design on these elite athletes.

That’s where this article comes in handy.

This stuff works so well, I’ve had some people ask if the tape is medicated (which it’s not).  I’ve also had people ask if there is “Voodoo” involved (not that I’m aware of).

Specifically in this post I’m going to cover how to apply kinesiology tape to help with knee pain.  This tape job helps with conditions such as MCL sprains, Meniscal injury, Patella Femoral Pain  Syndrome, Jumper’s knee, and more.

If you are someone who is dealing with knee pain, you might also want to check out my blog post “4 Reasons Your Knees Hurt…and why it’s not your knees fault“.  This will give you a better understanding of factors that contribute to knee pain and are indirectly related.

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Step 1:


You’re going to want to get yourself some good quality tape.  Some of the stuff I’ve seen in pharmacies is pretty low quality.  If you want decent results, you’re going to need the proper tools.

Here are a couple good choices you can get for a decent price:

Rock Tape (click here)


KT Tape (click here)

You can decide whether you want pre-cut pieces or just the full roll.  I tend to prefer doing my own cutting and save a few bucks.  You should have a decent pair of scissors.  If you tape for a living, you might invest in a pair of Taping Scissors.  Otherwise, get yourself a decent pair of office scissors.

Step 2:

Make sure the skin is clean and dry prior to applying the tape.  I will often use a damp towel to wash off any excess lotion from the area I’m going to tape.  This will allow the tape to stick considerably longer.

If there is a lot of body hair in the area that needs to be taped, you made need to shave first to keep the tape from coming off too easily.

If you prepare the area properly and apply good taping technique, you can expect the tape to last for 3 to 5 days.

Step 3:

With your leg extended straight out on the floor, measure out a piece of tape the length of your thigh (quadriceps) and cut.  Then cut through the middle of the tape, roughly a third of the distance.  Make sure you trim and round out all the edges.  This will help prevent the edges from rolling up.

Measured piece without rounding
Rounded “Y” Cut








The piece of tape should look like a “Y” when you’re done.  In fact, this is called a “Y-cut”. Sometime you can buy the tape pre-cut to look like this but it’s a pretty simple step and you might as well save some money.

Step 4:

Starting at the upper thigh, apply at least 1 inch of the tape without any tension at all.  You should be using the bottom of the “Y” for this and have the forked portion down by the knee.

Notice 1 inch anchor applied first

This step is often missed or performed incorrectly so I will take a second to reiterate that you want ZERO tension in the first inch of tape.  This is the”anchor” of the tape.  By leaving this area tension free, you will make the whole tape job stronger and last longer.

Step  5:

Bend the knee as far as you can comfortably, more the better.  You’ll want to pull the rest of the tape beyond the “anchor” at approximately 25-50% tension.  By the knee, wrap the arms of the “Y” around the kneecap and have them meet at the bottom of the knee.  End the portion just below the kneecap with ZERO tension as well.


Step 6 (optional):

Use this step with pain that is predominantly on this inner side of the knee.  This tends to be the more common side of the knee to be affected.  Measure out a “I” strip that runs roughly 2 inches above and below the joint line (where the femur meets the tibia).

With the knee full bent, apply the tape with 50% tension starting from the middle.  You’ll have to tear the paper in the middle and then pull lengthwise so that the tape runs along the inner knee.  Leave about an inch on both ends with ZERO tension.


You should notice some wrinkling around the kneecap if you’ve applied the tape correctly. That pull on the skin contributes to managing inflammation.

If you get red, itchy, or feel discomfort from wearing the tape, remove it immediately.  You might be allergic.  The tape can get it wet in the shower, just don’t scrub it.

That’s it, you’re done!  Let me know how you did.  If there is a specific area you want me to make a tutorial for let me know.

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You may also like:

5 Quick Tips for Better Stretching

How to know when to ICE vs. HEAT an injury

4 Reasons Your Knees Hurt…and why it’s not your knees fault