Kinesio taping is not effective in elderly with knee OA
Knee osteoarthritis is associated with along list of signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal dysfunction: pain, swelling, crepitation, decreased range of movement, joint laxity, bony outgrowths called osteophytes, changes in the congruence of the joint surfaces, and consequent impairment in balance and gait.
Kinesio Tape is brightly coloured, elastic strapping tape that has been widely promoted as having effects on many of the signs and symptoms listed above. However, a recent study by a group of physiotherapists in Brazil does not support the claims that it is effective.
The taping technique used was complex -- incorporating elements to encourage drainage of swelling, relaxation of muscle and relief of pain. This is consistent with the recommendations of the developers of the tape. Unfortunately, the intended benefits did not occur.
After four days with the tape in situ, there were no significant benefits compared tot he control group in: the strength of muscle groups around the knee; the amount of pressure required to be applied in order to produce pain (you might think of this as a kind of objective measure of tenderness); swelling of the knee and lower leg (which was measuredin several ways); nor in questionnaires relating to knee function and knee-related quality of life.
Due to the lack of effect, some of the patients in the study did not bother returning two weeks later for a follow-up assessment, but there was no evidence of benefit among those who did attend for the follow-up assessment.
This study raises the important reminder that robust evidence should be provided before expensive and highly promoted therapies are adopted in clinical practice.
Want to read deeper into this topic? Have a look at the free full text version of this article published in Journal of Physiotherapy!
> From: Wageck et al., J Physiother 62 (2016) 153-158. All rights reserved to the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the Pubmed summary.