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Kinesio Tape – To tape or not to tape….

Dear readers,

This week’s blog is a topic that has started to cross my desk with regularity as a frequent purveyor of research. I see more and more clinical application/use of Kinesio Tape now than ever before. Typically, when I see an increase in any medical treatment I prefer to distill it down and see if there is evidence to support the efficacy of the intervention.

After I read a great deal of research on the topic I am still unclear on what Kinesio Tape is best served . There has been a growing body of evidence looking at the efficacy of Kinesio Tape in clinical practice. Billing for its use is still debatable and many providers charge this as cash service.

So what does the evidence say? Depending on where you look you can find a study to support your position. Poor research design appears to be the biggest drawback of most of the Kinesio Tape studies. Of the dozens of studies I read (especially the ones with favorable outcomes) there were too few participants, non-peer reviewed journals and poor control of the subjects. A recent systematic review also supported this position (1).

Since I am certainly not the evidence police what do patients say about Kinesio Tape. Overwhelmingly they seem to “feel” that it helps. I have asked many patient’s informally if they felt they noticed a difference after being taped. Only a few felt it was not worthwhile. I could also argue that the clinician applying the tape does matter.

As you can see we have a conundrum. Evidence does not strongly support its use but patient’s really like it and feel better in clinic. So is worth taping? I can yes, it is worth a shot. Billing it is a clinical decision best supported by documentation. I also feel if you are getting taped, find a provider that is trained and certified.

I wish you the best in your recovery.

In health,

Felipe J. Mares, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC/L, CAFS