The effectiveness of Kinesio Taping® for pain management in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial

Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2019 Aug 29:11:1759720X19869135. doi: 10.1177/1759720X19869135. eCollection 2019.


Background: Kinesio Taping® method is a nonpharmacological alternative for pain management in musculoskeletal disorders. However, the existing evidence is insufficient to assess its full effectiveness for pain management in knee osteoarthritis (KO). Our aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Kinesio Taping method in reducing knee pain for KO patients.

Methods: In this randomized, double blind, controlled trial, we recruited 187 patients with grade I-III KO who were allocated to either the Kinesio Taping or control group. The study was carried out in outpatient facility. Either Kinesio Taping or nonspecific taping was applied on the affected knee area for 4 weeks. Pain evaluation was performed at baseline, after 1 month of taping and after 1 further month without taping. The data on usage of painkillers were collected; Numeric Pain Rating Scale; an algometer, and Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores (KOOS) pain subscale were used to assess pain. Tolerance and subjective opinions toward the effectiveness of taping were evaluated. The chosen level of significance was p < 0.05, ß ⩽ 0.2.

Results: The majority (>70%) of both groups' patients indicated that tapes reduced the knee pain. The reported use of painkillers decreased, in addition to self-reported increase in the KOOS subscale, thereby indicating pain alleviation. All self-reported improvement remained at the 1-month follow up (p < 0.05). Significantly higher and clinically meaningful reduction of pain intensity was found in the Kinesio Taping group after the treatment month, in comparison with the control group (p < 0.05). More pain reduction was reported in the daytime for participants in the Kinesio Taping group at the follow up (p = 0.022). No changes in algometry results were observed.

Conclusions: Elastic taping can safely relieve knee pain and reduce the need for pharmacological management in KO. A specific Kinesio Taping technique is clinically more beneficial for knee-pain alleviation in comparison with nonspecific taping.[ identifier: NCT03076177.].

Keywords: Kinesio Taping; elastic taping; knee osteoarthritis; knee pain.

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