Kinesiotaping: Why Tape That?

PT Blog   •   April, 2018

Kinesiotaping. Is it beneficial or just an Olympic hype? Also, what exactly is that colorful tape? Kinesiotape, defined by Dr. Kase, states that it provides support and stability while facilitating the body’s natural healing process while not restricting range of motion, thus aiding the benefits of manual therapy.

I’d like to take a look at some studies and whether or not kinesiotape proves beneficial:

  • A study examining the effects of kinesiotaping on pain in the osteoarthritic knee patient found no benefit with taping and quads strengthening compared to strengthening alone.
  • Another study examining kinesiotaping effects on breast cancer treatment related lymphedema have shown volume reduction with the use of kinesiotape; however, this did not prove more effective than alternative treatments.
  • A study examining the effects of kinesiotape with postural education versus education alone in the patient with postpartum back pain found that kinesiotape with exercises provided superior results than those with exercises alone. Functional measures that were improved included the VAS (visual analog scale) and low back pain questionnaire (Back Pain Function Scale).
  • In a study on the diagnosis of lateral epicondylitis, KT tape with tension versus with no tension (placebo), found improvements in VAS and DASH (disability of the arm shoulder and hand functional scale) scores; however, no difference was noted in grip strength or pain pressure testing.
  • This study examines the benefits of kinesiotaping versus general taping (via Micropore), versus no treatment in those with non-specific chronic low back pain. They found no changes in pain ratings and the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire between the placebo and kinesiotaping groups; however, a statistically significant difference compared to the control group.
  • A study examining proprioception of the glenohumeral joint via taping found less errors were made when performing flexion and external rotation movements compared to a control group; no changes noted however in shoulder extension and internal rotation.

As you can see from the above evidence, kinesiotaping is still greatly lacking in randomized controlled trials and further evidence is warranted above.  Kinesiotaping is just one of many adjunct tool.  I’ve found in my practice its benefits with reinforcing postural corrections, manual techniques, and/or improving proprioceptive awareness. Alone, its effects may be limited but when combined with clinical reasoning and other treatments can be beneficial.

Happy taping!

Review Question

Kinesiotaping is an excellent substitute for manual therapy; true or false?

Answer

False! Kinesiotaping is a useful adjunct to manual therapy and can reinforce techniques but should not be used alone.

2018-06-30T18:00:40+00:00

About the Author:

Ashley Theobald, D.P.T. – Ashley was born and raised in a small town in Alabama. She attended the University of South Alabama and was an advanced undergraduate student completing her Bachelor of Science degree in pre-professional health sciences in 2012. She then graduated with her doctorate in physical therapy in 2014. During her first year of PT school she met and married her husband, Ben. They moved to Nashville, TN where she worked for 3 years in an outpatient clinic full time and at Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital PRN. She is now working for ATI Physical Therapy full-time in Greenville, SC. She has been an avid health and fitness fan playing softball growing up, tennis in high school, and completing 2 half-marathons in college. She enjoys traveling overseas and has completed 2 short-term medical mission trips for physical therapy in the Dominican Republic (2013) and Haiti (2015), with intentions of returning yearly.
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