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Kinesiology Taping – does it work?

Kinesio-taping (KT) is used to prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries. Here we summarise very briefly the outcomes of a few papers which attempt to explain the benefits of KT taping or put to bed the argument that KT Taping doesn’t work

From our perspective at Bodylogics, KT Taping will not cure or solve your injuries; however, it will allow the performer to continue to exercise whilst enabling them to build the necessary strength needed to participate without the support of KT Taping.

KT Taping supposedly mimics the thickness of the skin and the manufacturers claim it works by lifting the skin, which increases blood circulation and lymphatic drainage leading to a reduction in pain. There is the psychological aspect of KT Taping and its impact on a performer.  It is well documented that sometimes the psychology of an injury has far greater consequences than that of the injury itself.

From the majority of studies undertaken, there are mixed reviews on the effects of KT  Two studies examined musculoskeletal injuries in the lower extremity of the body which would include the hips and below, and reported that the use of KT did not affect outcome measures.

Two studies examined musculoskeletal injuries involving the spine. It was shown that treatment with KT significantly improved pain levels and range of motion/movement in patients with acute whiplash-associated disorders of the cervical spine both immediately and 24 hours after injury; however, the long-term results did not differ between the 2 groups.

Patients with chronic low back pain treated with KT and exercise, KT alone, or exercise alone experienced significant improvement in short-term pain, while the exercise-only group also showed significantly less long-term disability.

Two studies examined musculoskeletal injuries in the shoulder. The first of these found insufficient evidence to indicate that KT decreases pain and disability in young patients with shoulder impingement/tendinitis, while the second suggested that KT may provide short-term pain relief for patients with shoulder impingement. This systematic review found insufficient evidence to support the use of KT following musculoskeletal injury, although a perceived benefit cannot be discounted.

Overall, there are few high-quality studies examining the use of KT following musculoskeletal injury.  As a clinic we provide treatments which specifically target the use of KT taping and we receive excellent feedback from our clients on its effect.  There is the added factor of its psychological impact as clients can feel more ‘stable’ as a result of correct taping but with mixed factual data it is hard to pinpoint it’s exact benefits.

From a personal and professional position, I fully support the use of KT tape and believe it does create an environment for the body to take part in activity, reduce load through the affected area and enable the client the opportunity to build strength to support the area.  It is important to understand though that the KT tape is not the solution to your injury, nor will it cure it.  KT tape should be used as part of a well-designed exercise and treatment programme focused on returning the clients body to full working condition.



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