Effects of kinesio taping alone versus sham taping in individuals with musculoskeletal conditions after intervention for at least one week: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Physiotherapy. 2019 Dec;105(4):412-420. doi: 10.1016/j.physio.2019.04.001. Epub 2019 Apr 8.


Background: Kinesiotaping (KT), has emerged as an interesting and relatively novel method for treating musculoskeletal conditions. To date, none of the systematic reviews with meta-analysis have addressed the efficacy of KT alone (without any other intervention) over sham taping (ST).

Objective: The present meta-analysis aimed to investigate the effectiveness of KT versus ST in patients with musculoskeletal conditions in interventions lasting at least 1 week on musculoskeletal conditions and functional performance outcomes.

Data source: Manual and electronic searches (CENTRAL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PEDro) were conducted using kinesiotaping, strapping, musculoskeletal pain and musculoskeletal conditions.

Study selection criteria: Randomised controlled trials on adults with a diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions.

Data extraction and data synthesis: Two researchers independently carried out the search and the third author was referred to for arbitration. The methodological quality of the studies using the PEDro scale and GRADE approach.

Results: Six RCTs were identified and included in the meta-analysis. When compared with ST in adults with chronic non-specific low-back pain (LBP), KT resulted in superior effects on pain at follow-up, but the pooled pain in the immediate post-treatment period and disability scores (in the immediate post-treatment period and at follow-up) were not significantly different. Generally, all results were supported by low quality evidence according to GRADE criteria.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate inconclusive and low-quality evidence of a beneficial effect of KT alone over ST in LBP and knee osteoarthritis. Systematic review registration number: PROSPERO CRD42018084151.

Keywords: Evidence based; Knee; Lower back; Physiotherapy; Sham taping; Taping.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Tape*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / therapy*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy
  • Pain Measurement
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic