A systematic review of the effectiveness of Kinesio Taping--fact or fashion?

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2013 Oct;49(5):699-709. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


In this systematic review article, we assessed the effects of therapeutic Kinesio Taping (KT) on pain and disability in participants suffering from musculoskeletal, neurological and lymphatic pathologies. Four online databases (CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, PEDro) were comprehensively searched from their inception through March 2012. The initial literature search found 91 controlled trials. Following elimination procedures, 26 studies were fully screened. Subsequently, 12 met our inclusion criteria. The final 12 articles were subdivided according to the basic pathological disorders of the participants' musculoskeletal (N.=9), neurological (N.=1) and lymphatic (N.=2) systems. As to the effect on musculoskeletal disorders, moderate evidence was found supporting an immediate reduction in pain while wearing the KT. In 3 out of 6 studies, reduction of pain was superior to that of the comparison group. However, there is no support indicating any long-term effect. Additionally, no evidence was found connecting the KT application to elevated muscle strength or long-term improved range of movement. No evidence to support the effectiveness of KT for neurological conditions. As to lymphatic disorders, inconclusive evidence was reported. Although KT has been shown to be effective in aiding short-term pain, there is no firm evidence-based conclusion of the effectiveness of this application on the majority of movement disorders within a wide range of pathologic disabilities. More research is clearly needed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Tape / statistics & numerical data*
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Diseases / complications*
  • Lymphatic Diseases / therapy
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / complications*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / therapy
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / etiology
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / therapy*
  • Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Pain Management / instrumentation*
  • Pain Management / methods