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Am Fam Physician. 2022;105(5):467-468

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Clinical Question

Is kinesiology taping safe and effective for the treatment of rotator cuff disease in adults?

Evidence-Based Answer

Kinesiology taping for adults with rotator cuff disease has little to no benefit compared with sham taping or conservative (i.e., nonsurgical) therapy.1 (Strength of Recommendation: B, inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence.)

Practice Pointers

Rotator cuff disease is an umbrella term encompassing disorders such as rotator cuff tendinopathy, impingement syndrome, subacromial bursitis, and others. This group of conditions is likely the most common cause of shoulder pain.2

Kinesiology taping is the use of an adhesive cotton elastic tape on the skin, theoretically to affect the function of the joint closest to where the tape is placed. It was developed in the 1970s in Japan, where it was theorized to reduce localized pain and allow healing by lifting the skin to increase interstitial space. It also reportedly improves proprioception. The tape is latex-free and contains no active pharmacologic agents. Products are available in a variety of elastic strength, size, and shape. In addition, there are numerous taping regimens. Kinesiology taping is widely used by rehabilitation specialists and is also available for self-application. The authors sought to determine the benefits of kinesiology taping as a sole treatment or as a co-intervention with commonly used conservative (i.e., nonsurgical) therapies for rotator cuff disease. Conservative therapies included pain management with medications (oral or injectable therapies), physical modalities (e.g., therapeutic ultrasonography, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and physical therapy, both supervised and home-based.

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These are summaries of reviews from the Cochrane Library.

This series is coordinated by Corey D. Fogleman, MD, assistant medical editor.

A collection of Cochrane for Clinicians published in AFP is available at

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