The following are replies to my question on securing markers during intensive exercise. I want to thank everyone for their time responding and for the many possible solutions. I am looking forward to testing and implementing some of the new methods!

Several people inquired about the tape our lab currently uses. For our exercise testing, we used Uline Heavy Duty double-sided vinyl foam tape, which works much better than the toupee tape that we normally use for gait studies. For anyone studying higher impact activities (with little to no sweat involved), I highly recommend this tape.

Original Posting:

Dear Biomch-L users,

I am looking for ways to secure reflective markers to the skin for longer periods of time during intensive exercise. Our lab has had success during shorter bouts (5-10 minutes) of running using alcohol to dry the skin, then applying Benzoin and taping reinforcement, but profuse sweating and repetitive impact tends to win after enough time. Further, taping is less effective on the torso where we prefer to avoid fully wrapping the subjects. We would like to do testing for longer periods without worrying about markers falling off. Any insights would be greatly appreciated and I will be happy to post responses.






We use this in my lab:

Tuf-Skin, colorless

It will react with people who are allergic to adhesives of course, but it's the only thing that keeps are markers on. Good luck!


John Jolly

Research Engineer

University of Pittsburgh

Neuromuscular Research Laboratory



You can try the OPsite flexfix from Smith & Nephew.


Patrick Salvia

Patrick Salvia Ph. D.

Center for functional evaluation

Department of Anatomy (CP 619)

University of Brussels (ULB)

Lennik Street 808

1070 Brussels - Belgium

Phone: +32-2-555-6328 (-6376)

Fax: +32-2-555-6378


LAB website:

Center webside:


Dear Brian,

I have tried a few different tapes to keep markers on during a long treadmill session. So far Fixomull seems the most promising and I am about to purchase a larger batch to try out properly. The system I use is one of active markers (which may be smaller than reflective markers) but I am trying out the tape on heavier items such as marker batteries and EMG amplifiers. I have attached a link for you to see the product but ignore the fact that it is from an online shop.

Good luck,

Gita Ramdharry

Research Physiotherapist

Institute of Neurology



Mr. Baum,

We've used Koband to secure markers on limb segments for long periods. I believe that is the commercial name, effectively a sticky polymer over a woven band of elastic thread.

Zachary D. Dezman

Bioengineering Intern

Center for Gait and Movement Analysis

Children's Hospital of Denver

Phone: 303-864-5813


Graduate Researcher

Dept. Chemistry and Geochemistry

Colorado School of Mines

Phone: 720-203-9843



Dear Brian,

We have run sessions with highly trained runners who wore markers and EMG electrodes during long lasting exercise (time-to-exhaustion). We have used double faced tape for markers and a medical spray adhesive in addition to a blenderm surgical tape to secure the markers and electrodes during the test.

We also used a surgilast tubular elastic bandage to minimize cable artefacts. This procedure was efficient enough for exercise lasting as long as 60 min. Please find enclose pictures that display the set-up. Hope this will help you.


Fabien Basset

School of Human Kinetics and Recreation

Memorial University of Newfoundland

St. John's, NL Canada A1C 5S7

Phone: (709) 737 6132

Fax: (709) 737 3979


Hi Brian, great question. So good in fact I would love to see a summary of the responses that you get. I am planning a study of extended duration and have had the same issues.


John McLester

John McLester, Ph.D.
Department of Health, Physical Education, and Sport Science (HPS)
WellStar College of Health and Human Services
Building: 2 MB: #0202
Kennesaw State University
1000 Chastain Road
Kennesaw, GA 30144-5591

Office: Convocation Center (CC) 3038
Phone: (770)423-6220 FAX: (770)423-6561



I have worked on a couple of studies using a whole body fatigue protocol which incorporates sprints and squat-jumps, so I have run into the same problems. We attach our markers using double-side carpet tape to landmarks which have previously been sprayed with quick-drying pre-wrap adhesive as used by athletic trainers. This works pretty well... the subjects are moving a bunch during the fatigue protocol as well as sweating a lot, but if you are liberal with the adhesive spray then they generally hold for the duration. Males tend to be worse (particularly with sweating) so shaving them at the landmarks might help out. Additionally, if you have females in your study, request that they refrain from using skin lotion for a couple days prior to the study... I have found that those lotions are the bane of all tape, particularly with perspiration. Finally, if your markers are located on spandex or other such clothing, a little bit of duct tape on top of the base of the markers to create a "tape sandwich" also tends to help as the adhesive spray is usually not quite as effective on clothing.

I hope this helps!

Dan Herman


The mocap world uses lycra suits and velcro to place markers. You have to rough up (pill and run) the lycra so it holds the velcro. Heat is a problem. We have used underarmor(.com) with success.

Michael Orendurff


Hi Brian

I can maybe give you some help. We did a study where we had subjects do a fatigue protocol (only about 15 minutes total but we pretty much took them to max and they did sweat a whole lot). We put markers on before for Prue-testing and left them on during the running for post testing. We also had trouble with markers falling off. The method that worked best, but wasn't fool proof was: Tuff Skin, let dry several seconds to get tacky, elastic tape, rigid marker arrays with hook velcro on the back to grab into the elastic tape (Elasticon type), athletic tape over marker array to hold to elastic tape. This worked best on females, the hair on the male subjects' legs tended to cause elastic tape to slide sometimes (so shaving the skin in any hairy areas may help). Use a fan aimed directly at the subject.

If you are suing single markers and not marker arrays I recommend tuff skin anyway and heavy duty double sided carpet tape which seems to be stickier than electrode colars which are often used. We were just looking at the lower extremity had had no trunk markers, except ASIS and we did not have a problem with that falling off - we did use tuff skin there.

Hope that helps


(Deborah King)



I purchased toupee tape from a website that worked well for securing markers to skin. I was only using it for a gait study, but the markers were on for about an hour. In fact, we had difficulty at times getting the markers off at the end of testing. The website I used is I used the "blue liner roll tape".

Melissa Peterson

Melissa L. Peterson, PT, MHS, GCS

Bradley University

Department of Physical Therapy & Health Science Olin Hall 345

1501 W. Bradley Ave.

Peoria, IL 61625



I notice you haven't said what type of tape you use. I haven't tried this during intensive exercise, but we use toupee tape - it is double sided, and sticks pretty decently - we've had difficulty with it sticking to shoes that have had Armour-All applied to them (yes, we had a subject do that), but it sticks pretty decently.

Good luck, and please share your responses!

Dawn Roberson

Dawnlee J Roberson, PhD

Assistant Professor

Biomedical Engineering

University of Texas at San Antonio

San Antonio, TX

(210) 458-5520

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Rehabilitation Medicine

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX


Have you tried kinesio-tape? Even better is the tape used for McConnel Taping.

These methods are generally only good for the skin.

Toran Furch



Have you thought of using body glue or similar products? Last year we used Collodian (used by a lot of sleep labs for EEG placement). It is rather strong smelling and some people may get irritation from it, but we had a generally good response from participants who had markers attached with it whilst on a treadmill for 2 hours (walking with backpacks). 10/20 and Elefix are two other products used by sleep labs that i have seen on the net but best to contact to find out more about these products as I have no experience.

If you have any better options suggested please let me know.


Renee Attwells

Research Assistant/Gait Lab Manager

Brian Blatchford Building

Centre for Rehabilitation and Human Performance Research University of Salford Salford, UK, M6 6PU

Tel: +44 (0) 161 295 2679



Hi Brian, Aside from using different types of tape (gaffers tape for

example) to reinforce the markers, I have had some success with an aerosol sticky spray that many athletic trainers use to make their pre-wrap and athletic tape stick to the skin when they wrap their athletes' joints. I forget the brand name, but it is commonly available and seemed to work well for some of my running studies.

Best of luck,

Young-Hui Chang



We use hair extension glue on animals, and it holds fairly heavy objects on them well even at high speeds. I guess you could use it on humans...

Sarah Beth Williams


Dear Dr. Brian Baum,

Perhaps a solution is the use of marker clusters with tapes of Velcro.

See an example below:

I think that a similar device can be made at an orthopedical workshop.

The use of a pointer can also aid to reduce the number of markers:

Best regards,

Wagner de Godoy

Gait Laboratory

AACD - Associação de Assistência à Criança Deficiente Disabled Children Care Association Brazil

"It's not dark yet, but it's getting there"

Bob Dylan


Hi Brian,

I would be very interested in the replies to your posting. We use Algeos double-sided tape, which is very sticky, but I haven't tried it with exercise yet. Although that was the next step in our research.



Natalie Vanicek

Lecturer in Biomechanics

Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science University of Hull Hull, HU6 7RX, UNITED KINGDOM

Tel: +44 (0) 1482 466212

Fax: +44 (0) 1482 466133




After prepping the sking with alcohol, spray it liberally with "tuff skin"

(spray on adhesive). Than use cloth trainer's tape. For areas that require more mobility, you can use an elastic cloth tape. I've had success with this method for weightlifting tasks lasting 45min-1 hour.


Loren Chiu

Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Laboratory Department of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy University of Southern California


Hi Brian,

We've used 'stick-um' (was used I think by football players to prevent them from dropping the ball)quite successfully before to secure ecg and emg electrodes during heavy upper body exercise. The electrodes never come off. The athletes were actually laying on top of the ecg electrodes while performing intense arm exercise so I'd imagine that'd work for markers.

Michele Oliver


Dear Brian,

You may glue the markers with a drop of "crazy glue", the kind of glue which will attach within seconds. Afterwards you just give the marker a quick jerk. A very little skin may come off, but its not a problem unless you mention it to the subject. I mean it, have tried it several times.

Best wishes


Erik B. Simonsen, associate prof. (lektor), Ph.D.

Inst. Med. Anatomy, University of Copenhagen Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200 Copenhagen N.




Phone: +45 3532 7230


Brian- You must approach it from the other angle. No amount of adhesive will hold a marker when sweating is profuse. I have had luck with very powerful fans at cooling cyclists for up to one hour while we capture multiple sets of data. Also, make sure the room is at most 69 degrees F.

If that doesn't work, good luck.

Todd Carver

Biomechanics Laboratory

Boulder Center for Sports Medicine

(303) 441-2220




We glue the marker to a piece of "fake leather" using a hot glue gun, then use medical adhesive to stick this to the skin.

Hope that helps,

James Croft

Human Performace Lab

Roger Jackson Center

University of Calgary


Brian, I'm not sure what kind of tape you are using for reinforcement, but you might want to try Cover-Roll Stretch tape by BSN Medical (formerly Biersdorf). We have not used it during data acquisition sessions involving prolonged intense exercise, so I can't guarantee it will work, but it does seem to have the best adhesive properties of any tape we have tried (we routinely use it for securing surface EMG electrodes, and occasionally to reinforce reflective maker as well).

Good luck.

Terry S. Horn, Ph.D

Director, Motion Analysis and Human Performance Laboratory Methodist Rehabilitation Center Jackson, Mississippi USA


Hi Brian,

Skin Prep is another product you may want to consider. It creates a protective film on the skin as it dries. It improves adhesion and slows if not prevents loss of markers secondary to perspiration. Since you are at a medical center, you probably can find a sample from a colleague to give it a try before you purchase.

Here is a website:

Karen Lohmann Siegel



You might want to try Spirit Gum, which I believe is used to secure masks and other things to actors on stage. We have used is successfully for intense exercise protocols.

- Andy

Andrew Karduna, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Human Physiology

University of Oregon

Eugene, OR 97403

(541) 346-0438 (voice) (541) 346-2841 (fax)



A rep from MedGraphics told me of a spray that will stop the skin from sweating and allow anything to stick for hours. It didn't sound too healthy to me, but he said it was great if you needed a dry patch of skin for adhering markers. Sorry, I don't recall the name of the product, but he person who told me was Dean Fredrickson (

Good luck,

Gary Heise

University of Northern Colorado


Hi Brian,

I have used industrial strength carpet tape in the past. Unfortunately I can't recall the brand but I had to buy it at a hardware store specialising in industrial materials. I would cut it into a strip (about

1 inch by 2 inches, then fold it onto itself into a 1x1 inch square (since it is double sided the surfaces stick to themselves). This gives it slightly more thickness and makes it easier to handle. Clean skin with alcohol, let skin dry, place the marker on the tape and then stick on the skin by using the marker as a 'handle' so you don't touch the surface of the tape. Press hard and hold for a few seconds. This has worked well for me for running trials of up to 15-20mins on a treadmill with the subjects sweating profuselly. We never had a problem with the skin getting a rash.

Note that the standard 3M tape you find at a normal hardware store does not work. This tape was rubbery, clear, the yellowish colour of scotch tape and double sided. Sorry I don't have the brand but I had found it by trial and error and am using a different system where I am now. You may try tape designed to stick to cement as well. I hope this helps.


Daniel Benoit, Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Fellow

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

Center for Biomedical Engineering Research University of Delaware Newark-DE USA


Ph.: +1 302 831 6704



I do have an idea that a couple people around the country have tried that seems to work well.

There is a product called Tuff Skin that can be sprayed onto the skin before the marker tape is place on the area that is very sticky and provides extra sticking power even after sweating.

If can rubbed or cleaned off when the markers come off.

I hope that helps.

Best Regards,

Mike Kocourek

Business Development Manager

Vicon Peak

9 Spectrum Pointe Drive

Lake Forest, CA 92630

P (949) 472-9140

F (949) 472-9136


Hi Brian,

we had the same problem and made good experience with fixing the markers to bandages like this:

BORT Dual-Tension Knee Support

Dual-tension elastic, does not slip, thin material, comfortable in the hollow of the knee. Compression class II.
Micro fibre comfort.

You can find them for different joints here:

Best regards,
Heiko Maurer

Brian S. Baum, M.S.

Orthopaedic Research Associate

Department of Orthopaedics

Baylor University Medical Center

Dallas, Texas 75246

(w) 214-820-6300 (f) 214-820-4095

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