Clinical effectiveness of kinesiological taping on pain and pain-free shoulder range of motion in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome: a randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled trial

Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013 Dec;8(6):800-10.


Background: Kinesiological taping (KT) is commonly used to improve symptoms associated with musculoskeletal disorders. However, review of the literature revealed minimal evidence to support the use of KT in treatment of shoulder disorders and controversy exists regarding the effect of KT in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS).

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of KT on pain intensity during movement, pain experienced during the night (nocturnal pain), and pain-free shoulder range of motion (ROM) immediately after taping, after three days and after one week, in patients with SIS.

Design: Randomized, Double blinded, Placebo-controlled design.

Participants: A total of 30 patients with SIS participated in this study. Patients were assigned randomly to a control (N = 15) and an experimental group (N = 15).

Methods: The patients in the experimental group received a standardized therapeutic KT. The standardized, placebo neutral KT was applied for control group. KT was applied two times with a three day interval, remaining on during the 3 day interval. Both groups followed the same procedures. Pain-free active ROM during shoulder abduction, flexion, and elevation in the scapular plane was measured. Visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain intensity during movement or nocturnal pain and was assessed at baseline, immediately after KT, after three days, and one week after KT.

Results: The result of repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant change in pain level during movement, nocturnal pain, and pain-free ROM (p = 0.000) after KT in the experimental group. In the ANCOVA, controlling for pre-test scores, change in pain level at movement (p = 0.009) and nocturnal pain (p = 0.04) immediately after KT was significantly greater in the experimental group than in control group. There was no significant difference in ROM measures (p > 0.05) between groups immediately after KT. No significant differences were found between the two groups in the after one week measurements of pain intensity and shoulder ROM.

Conclusion: The KT produces an immediate improvement in the pain intensity at movement and nocturnal pain in patients with SIS.

Level of evidence: 1.

Keywords: Kinesiological taping; pain; range of motion; shoulder impingement.