How to Put KT Tape on Your Knee: A Step-by-Step Guide to Support and Pain Relief

Man learning how to put KT tape on knee

Kinesio Tape (KT) is an elastic adhesive tape that is used to provide support and relief from pain in the knee joint. It can be used to treat various knee injuries and conditions such as patellar tendonitis, runner’s knee, IT band syndrome, and more. KT tape helps to reduce swelling and inflammation while providing stability and support for the injured area. This article will provide guidance on how to put KT tape on the knee properly for maximum benefit.

Anatomy of the Knee

The knee joint is a complex joint that is made up of several structures. The main structures of the knee joint include the femur, tibia, and patella (also known as the kneecap). The femur is the thigh bone, while the tibia is the shin bone. The patella sits in front of the knee joint and is embedded in the quadriceps tendon.

The knee joint is a hinge joint, which means it can move in two directions: flexion and extension. Flexion is when the knee bends, while extension is when the knee straightens. The knee joint also has a small amount of rotation, which allows the lower leg to twist slightly.


The knee joint is supported by several ligaments, including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL). These ligaments provide stability to the knee joint and prevent excessive movement in different directions.

Knee Muscles

Several muscles are involved in knee movement, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius muscles. 

The quadriceps are located on the front of the thigh and are responsible for extending the knee joint, while the hamstrings are located on the back of the thigh and are responsible for flexing the knee joint. 

The gastrocnemius muscle, which is located in the calf, is also involved in knee movement as it helps to flex the knee joint and stabilize the lower leg during movement. 

Other muscles that are involved in knee movement include the popliteus, sartorius, and gracilis muscles, among others. These muscles work together to provide stability and support to the knee joint during movement.

Choosing the Right KT Tape

Choosing the right KT Tape (kinesiology tape) depends on the type of injury or condition you are trying to treat, as well as your personal preferences. Here are some tips to help you choose the right KT Tape:

Injury Considerations

1. Consider the type of injury or condition: Different types of KT Tape are designed to treat different types of injuries or conditions, such as knee pain, shoulder pain, or plantar fasciitis. Make sure to choose a tape that is specifically designed for the area you are trying to treat.

2. Look for the right level of support: KT Tape comes in different levels of support, such as light, moderate, and strong. Choose a tape with the right level of support for your injury or condition. For example, if you have a mild strain or sprain, a light support tape may be sufficient, while a more severe injury may require a stronger support tape.

Other Considerations

1. Consider the material: KT Tape is typically made from cotton or synthetic materials. Some people may prefer one material over the other depending on their skin sensitivity or the level of activity they will be engaging in. Cotton KT Tape is generally more breathable and comfortable for sensitive skin, while synthetic KT Tape is more durable and water-resistant.

2. Check the size and shape: KT Tape comes in different sizes and shapes, such as pre-cut strips or rolls. Make sure to choose the right size and shape for the area you are trying to treat. For example, when treating a knee injury, a pre-cut strip designed for the knee may be easier to apply than a roll that needs to be cut to size.

3. Consider the brand: There are many brands of KT Tape available, each with their own unique features and benefits. Some popular brands include KT Tape, RockTape, and Mueller. Do some research and read reviews to find a brand that works well for your needs and budget.

Preparing for Application:

Before applying KT Tape to your knee, it’s important to properly prepare the area to ensure the tape adheres well and provides effective support. Here are the steps to prepare your knee for KT Tape:

1. Clean the area: Use soap and water to clean the skin around your knee, and then dry the area thoroughly. Avoid using any lotions, oils, or creams on the skin, as these can interfere with the tape’s adhesive.

2. Shave the area (if necessary): If you have hair on the skin where you will be applying the tape, consider shaving the area to ensure the tape adheres properly. Be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after shaving before applying the tape, as the skin may be more sensitive and prone to irritation.

3. Apply any necessary topical treatments: If you are using any topical treatments, such as pain-relieving creams or gels, apply them to the skin before applying the tape. Allow the treatment to fully absorb into the skin before applying the tape.

4. Position your knee in a comfortable and stable position: Before applying the tape, position your knee in a comfortable and stable position, such as sitting with your foot on the ground or lying on your back with your knee bent. This will help ensure the tape is applied correctly and provides the support you need.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying KT Tape on Knee

1. Measure and cut the tape: Measure the length you need by starting at the top of your knee, wrapping the tape around the kneecap, and ending at the bottom of your knee. Cut the tape to the appropriate length.

2. Round the edges: Round the corners of the tape to prevent it from catching on clothing.

3. Apply the anchor: Apply the anchor of the tape to the top of your knee, just above the kneecap. Apply it with 0% stretch.

4. Apply the first strip: Apply the first strip of tape around the kneecap, with 50% stretch. Start from the outside of your knee, wrapping the tape over the kneecap, and ending on the inside of your knee. Make sure the tape is applied smoothly and without any wrinkles or folds.

5. Apply the second strip: Apply the second strip of tape in the same way, but this time start from the inside of your knee, wrap around the kneecap, and end on the outside of your knee. Again, make sure the tape is applied smoothly and without any wrinkles or folds.

6. Apply the third strip: Apply the third strip of tape diagonally across the kneecap, with 50% stretch. Start at the top of your knee, just above the kneecap, and end at the bottom of your knee, just below the kneecap.

7. Apply the fourth strip: Apply the fourth strip of tape diagonally across the kneecap in the opposite direction, with 50% stretch. Start at the bottom of your knee, just below the kneecap, and end at the top of your knee, just above the kneecap.

9. Finish Up. Rub the tape firmly against your skin to ensure a strong hold. Bend and flex your knee to ensure a good fit. 

Removal and Aftercare:

Removing KT tape is easy and painless. Start by grabbing an edge of the tape and gently pulling it off in the direction of hair growth. If it’s not coming off easily, use a bit of warm water or baby oil to help loosen the adhesive. 

Once the tape is off, clean the area with soap and water to remove any remaining adhesive residue. Avoid using alcohol or other harsh chemicals on the skin. Finally, let the area dry completely before applying any new tape or performing any activities.


KT tape can be a valuable tool in managing knee pain and providing support during physical activity. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure proper application and get the most out of your KT tape. 

With its proven benefits and ease of use, KT tape is a great choice for anyone looking to maintain an active lifestyle while minimizing discomfort and injury. So go ahead and give it a try, and get back to your favorite activities with confidence and comfort.

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