FPIN's Clinical Inquiries

Kinesiology Taping for Knee Osteoarthritis Pain

 

Am Fam Physician. 2021 Apr 1;103(7):434-436.

Clinical Question

How effective is kinesiology taping (elastic tape applied to the knee to create patellar tension) for osteoarthritis pain of the knee?

Evidence-Based Answer

Kinesiology taping probably does not produce a clinically significant reduction in knee pain from osteoarthritis. Compared with sham taping, kinesiology taping only minimally reduces standardized pain scores in middle-aged patients with moderate pain from nondeforming osteoarthritis of the knee. It does not cause any clinically significant adverse effects. (Strength of Recommendation: B, based on small randomized controlled trials [RCTs] with conflicting results.)

Evidence Summary

Five double-blind RCTs 15 (n = 293) and six single-blind RCTs611 (n = 281) evaluated kinesiology taping vs. sham taping in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. All studies included patient-reported pain scores as an outcome. Researchers randomized patients with radiologically confirmed knee osteoarthritis without deformities on inspection to kinesiology taping (applying elastic adhesive tape with tension to the skin starting just superior to the medial quadriceps tendon and extending inferiorly, circling the patella, and ending near the tibial tuberosity) vs. a sham taping control (applying adhesive tape to the skin but without tension and in a nondynamic circumferential pattern).

All of the studies recruited patients with moderate pain (baseline of five to seven points on a 10-point visual analog scale [VAS]) from chronic knee osteoarthritis; participants were generally 50 to 70 years of age, with a slight majority of women. The participants in nine studies used a 10-point VAS to assess knee pain (two studies used an 11-point VAS). In most cases, they used a global subjective pain rating, typically at rest. Investigators used kinesiology taping and sham taping for periods lasting from one to seven days, with the length of the experimental protocol ranging from a single taping application up to four applications (Table 1).111 In five studies, investigators removed the tape before the outcome was measured, blinding the evaluator to which group participants belonged (i.e., double-blinding). Investigators evaluated VAS pain scores for differences between groups initially and again after the tape was in place for various periods of time.

 Enlarge     Print

TABLE 1.

Comparison of RCTs of Kinesiology Taping vs. Sham Taping for Knee Osteoarthritis Pain at Rest

Type of RCTNumber of participantsMean age (years)Duration of taping (days)Outcome assessment conditionsDifference in pain (10-point VAS)P valueComments

Double-blind1

134

70

Six

After four weeks

0.9

< .05

Used 11-point pain rating scale Tape applied for six days, four times

Double-blind2

39

55

Three

After each taping

0

NS

Tape applied for three days, three times

Double-blind3

39

69

Four

Daily

0

NS

After each taping session

Double-blind4

41

45

Four

At 12 days

−0.8

NS

Tape applied for four days, three times

Double-blind5

40

58

One

After taping

−2.7

.001

Single-blind6

87

65

Three

At three days

NS

NS

Single-blind7

61

54

Seven

Initially and at three weeks

−0.4 −0.4

.003 .01

Tape applied for one week, three times

Single-blind8

15

69

One

After taping

−2.5

NS

Single-blind9

46

58

Two

After taping

0

NS

Single-blind10

58

69

Seven

At three weeks

−0.8

NS

Used 11-point pain rating scale Tape applied for one week, three times

Single-blind11

14

70

Four

Daily comparison with baseline

Day 2: −1.9 Day 3: −1.8 Day 4: −1.6

.007 .022 .023

Day 1 results NS Compared medial vs. neutral taping


Note: Bold values are statistically significant. Most baseline VAS pain ratings ranged from five to seven out of 10 points. Differences from baseline described in text where significant.

NS = not significant; RCT = randomized controlled trial; VAS = visual analog scale.

Information from references 111.

TABLE 1.

Comparison of RCTs of Kinesiology Taping vs. Sham Taping for Knee Osteoarthritis Pain at Rest

Type of RCTNumber of participantsMean age (years)Duration of taping (days)Outcome assessment conditionsDifference in pain (10-point VAS)P valueComments

Double-blind1

134

70

Six

After four weeks

0.9

< .05

Used 11-point pain rating scale Tape applied for six days, four times

Double-blind2

39

55

Three

After each taping

0

NS

Tape applied for three days, three times

Double-blind3

39

69

Four

Daily

0

NS

After each taping session

Double-blind4

41

45

Four

At 12 days

−0.8

NS

Tape applied for four days, three times

Double-blind5

40

58

One

After taping

−2.7

.001

Single-blind6

87

65

Three

At three days

NS

NS

Single-blind7

61

54

Seven

Initially and at three weeks

−0.4 −0.4

.003 .01

Tape applied for one week, three times

Single-blind8

15

69

One

After taping

−2.5

NS

Single-blind9

46

58

Two

After taping

0

NS

Single-blind10

58

69

Seven

At three weeks

−0.8

NS

Used 11-point pain rating scale Tape applied for one week, three times

Single-blind11

14

70

Four

Daily comparison with baseline

Day 2: −1.9 Day 3: −1.8 Day 4: −1.6

.007 .022 .023

Day 1 results NS C

Address correspondence to Gary Kelsberg, MD, at kelsberg@uw.edu. Reprints are not available from the authors.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.


Copyright Family Physicians Inquiries Network. Used with permission.

References

show all references

1. Donec V, Kubilius R. The effectiveness of Kinesio Taping® for pain management in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2019;11:1759720X19869135....

2. Kaya Mutlu E, Mustafaoglu R, Birinci T, et al. Does kinesio taping of the knee improve pain and functionality in patients with knee osteoarthritis? A randomized controlled clinical trial. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017;96(1):25–33.

3. Wageck B, Nunes GS, Bohlen NB, et al. Kinesio taping does not improve the symptoms or function of older people with knee osteoarthritis: a randomised trial. J Physiother. 2016;62(3):153–158.

4. Kocyigit F, Turkmen MB, Acar M, et al. Kinesio taping or sham taping in knee osteoarthritis? A randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015;21(4):262–267.

5. Anandkumar S, Sudarshan S, Nagpal P. Efficacy of kinesio taping on isokinetic quadriceps torque in knee osteoarthritis: a double blinded randomized controlled study. Physiother Theory Pract. 2014;30(6):375–383.

6. Rahlf AL, Braumann KM, Zech A. Kinesio taping improves perceptions of pain and function of patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, controlled trial. J Sport Rehabil. 2019;28(5):481–487.

7. Öğüt H, Güler H, Yildizgören MT, et al. Does kinesiology taping improve muscle strength and function in knee osteoarthritis? A single-blind randomized and controlled study. Arch Rheumatol. 2018;33(3):335–343.

8. Edmonds DW, McConnell J, Ebert JR, et al. Biomechanical, neuromuscular and knee pain effects following therapeutic knee taping among patients with knee osteoarthritis during walking gait. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2016;39:38–43.

9. Cho HY, Kim EH, Kim J, et al. Kinesio taping improves pain, range of motion, and proprioception in older patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2015;94(3):192–200.

10. Hinman RS, Crossley KM, McConnell J, et al. Efficacy of knee tape in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee: blinded randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2003;327(7407):135.

11. Cushnaghan J, McCarthy C, Dieppe P. Taping the patella medially: a new treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee joint? BMJ. 1994;308(6931):753–755.

12. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Clinical guidelines. Handbook of non-drug interventions: knee taping for osteoarthritis. 2011. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.racgp.org.au/clinical-resources/clinical-guidelines/handi/handi-interventions/musculoskeletal/knee-taping-for-osteoarthritis

Clinical Inquiries provides answers to questions submitted by practicing family physicians to the Family Physicians Inquiries Network (FPIN). Members of the network select questions based on their relevance to family medicine. Answers are drawn from an approved set of evidence-based resources and undergo peer review.

The complete database of evidence-based questions and answers is copyrighted by FPIN. If interested in submitting questions or writing answers for this series, go to http://www.fpin.org or email: questions@fpin.org.

This series is coordinated by John E. Delzell Jr., MD, MSPH, associate medical editor.

A collection of FPIN's Clinical Inquiries published in AFP is available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/fpin.

 

 

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

CME Quiz

More in AFP

More in Pubmed

MOST RECENT ISSUE


Sep 2021

Access the latest issue of American Family Physician

Read the Issue


Email Alerts

Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

Sign Up Now

Navigate this Article