Background: Post-stroke spasticity is a common complication in patients with stroke and a key contributor to impaired hand function after stroke.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of kinesio taping on managing spasticity of upper extremity and motor performance in patients with subacute stroke.
Design: A randomized controlled pilot study.
Setting: A hospital center.
Population: Participants with stroke within six months.
Methods: Thirty-one participants were enrolled. Patients were randomly allocated into kinesio taping (KT) group or control group. In KT group, Kinesio Tape was applied as an add-on treatment over the dorsal side of the affected hand during the intervention. Both groups received regular rehabilitation 5 days a week for 3 weeks. The primary outcome was muscle spasticity measured by modified Ashworth Scale (MAS). Secondary outcomes were functional performances of affected limb measured by using Fugl-Meyer assessment for upper extremity (FMA-UE), Brunnstrom stage, and the Simple Test for Evaluating Hand Function (STEF). Measures were taken before intervention, right after intervention (the third week) and two weeks later (the fifth week).
Results: Within-group comparisons yielded significant differences in FMA-UE and Brunnstrom stages at the third and fifth week in the control group (P=0.003-0.019). In the KT group, significant differences were noted in FMA-UE, Brunnstrom stage, and MAS at the third and fifth week (P=0.001-0.035), and in the proximal part of FMA-UE between the third and fifth week (P=0.005). Between-group comparisons showed a significant difference in the distal part of FMA-UE at the fifth week (P=0.037).
Conclusions: Kinesio taping could provide some benefits in reducing spasticity and in improving motor performance on the affected hand in patients with subacute stroke.
Clinical rehabilitation impact: Kinesio taping could be a choice for clinical practitioners to use for effectively managing post-stroke spasticity.