Study design: Prospective, randomized, double-blinded, clinical trial using a repeated-measures design.
Objectives: To determine the short-term clinical efficacy of Kinesio Tape (KT) when applied to college students with shoulder pain, as compared to a sham tape application.
Background: Tape is commonly used as an adjunct for treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. A majority of tape applications that are reported in the literature involve nonstretch tape. The KT method has gained significant popularity in recent years, but there is a paucity of evidence on its use.
Methods and measures: Forty-two subjects clinically diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis/impingement were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: therapeutic KT group or sham KT group. Subjects wore the tape for 2 consecutive 3-day intervals. Self-reported pain and disability and pain-free active ranges of motion (ROM) were measured at multiple intervals to assess for differences between groups.
Results: The therapeutic KT group showed immediate improvement in pain-free shoulder abduction (mean +/- SD increase, 16.9 degrees +/- 23.2 degrees ; P = .005) after tape application. No other differences between groups regarding ROM, pain, or disability scores at any time interval were found.
Conclusion: KT may be of some assistance to clinicians in improving pain-free active ROM immediately after tape application for patients with shoulder pain. Utilization of KT for decreasing pain intensity or disability for young patients with suspected shoulder tendonitis/impingement is not supported.
Level of evidence: Therapy, level 1b-.