You´ve probably seen a bunch of athletes wearing this kind of tape. They have it over their knees, shoulders, backs, ankles, almost anywhere you can imagine. It comes in different colors and it´s called ¨athletic therapeutic tape¨. This elastic therapeutic tape is used for treating sports injuries and a variety of other disorders. You guys probably know it by kinesio tape (KT). This tape became very popular thanks, in part, to a great marketing strategy. During the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, a tape manufacturer donated kinesio tape to 58 countries for their athletes to use. Many athletes used it and overnight it became a world wide sensation. But does it really work?
Well, the research out there is controversial to say the least. For example, there was a recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (1) that concluded that ¨Kinesio taping does not appear to have a beneficial effect on pain when compared with sham treatment. Based mostly on studies of healthy populations, there are inconsistent results for other outcome measures such as ROM (range of motion), strength, muscle activity and proprioception. … At present there appears to be little high quality evidence on which to assess the effectiveness of kinesio taping, it is hoped that future research will clarify the situation¨. And many other studies say the same thing, especially if the patients are ¨healthy¨(2,4).
For example, another systematic review found ¨insufficient evidence to support the use of KT following musculoskeletal injury, although a perceived benefit cannot be discounted. There are few high-quality studies examining the use of KT following musculoskeletal injury¨(3). Now, if the athletes are injured there seems to be some evidence that kinesio tape may help (5). It is still not known why that is (propiocepcion, placebo), but it seems like it works a little. So, should we use it?
I am a little skeptic about it, but the good thing with kinesio tape is that it doesn´t really have any negative effects. So you have nothing to lose, except a couple of euros (or $). So as a last resort I would try it.
Hoped you liked it.
- Kamper SJ, Henschkle N. Kinesio taping for sports injuries. Br J Sports Med. 2013 Nov; 47(17):1128-9.
- Ferriero G, Vercelli S, Sartorio F, Foti C, Colleto L, Virton D, Ronconi G. Immediate effects of kinesiotaping on quadriceps muscle strength: a single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Clin J Sport Med,2012 Jul;22(4):319-26.
- Mostafavifar M, Wertz J, Borchers J. A systematic review of the effectiveness of kinesio taping for musculoskeletal injury. Phys SPortsmed.2012 Nov;40(4):33-40.
- Thelen MD, Dauber JA, Stoneman PD. The clinical efficacy of kinesio tape for shoulder pain: a randomized, double-blinded, clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, 2008 Jul; 38(7):389-95
- Williams S. Whatman C, Hume PA, Sheerin K. Kinesio taping in treatment and prevention of sports injuries: a meta-analysis of the evidence for its effectiveness. Sports Med, 2012 Feb 1;42(2):153-64