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Kinesio tape therapy

No evidence Kinesio tape superior therapy

In an analysis of 17 randomised controlled trials of individuals with musculoskeletal pain lasting longer than four weeks, Singaporean researchers found no evidence to suggest the popular athletic taping method was any better than other treatment approaches for either pain or disability.

Kinesio tape is a stretchy, elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive used in both athletic and musculoskeletal injuries, which gained widespread uptake after its visibility on athletes at the Olympic Games.

To date, most published literature does not favour the use of Kinesio taping to improve range of motion, strength, proprioception and functional performance, the authors said.

When compared to “minimal intervention” — no taping, sham taping and usual care — Kinesio taping provided pain relief.

The analysis suggested that excessive tension may diminish benefits. However, disability, which included impairment, activity limitation and participant restriction, was not helped by Kinesio taping, “[signalling] the need for conventional therapy, for example, other active forms of intervention, over and above passive treatment, in the management of musculoskeletal pain lasting >4 weeks”, the authors wrote.

Kinesio tape is claimed to mimic the thickness of the skin and to reduce pain by lifting the skin, thereby increasing blood circulation and lymphatic drainage.

In conjunction with exercise, it was shown to have both pain and disability benefits in two trials.

“Our clinical impression is that many clinicians use [Kinesio taping] in this way — as an adjunct to exercise,” the authors said.

Br J Sports Med 2015; online 16 Jan

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