Kinesio tape (KT) is an elastic therapeutic tape used for treating sports injuries and a variety of other disorders. Chiropractor, Dr Kenso Kase, developed KT taping techniques in the 1970s. It is claimed that KT supports injuredmuscles and joints and helps relieve pain by lifting the skin and allowing improved blood and lymph flow. The profile of KT rose after the tape was donated to 58 countries for use during the 2008 Olympic Games, and was seen on high-profile athletes. Practitioners are asking whether they should use KT over other elastic adhesive tapes. The aim of this review was to evaluate, using meta-analysis, the effectiveness ofKT in the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. Electronic databases including SPORTDiscus®, Scopus,MEDLINE, ScienceDirect and sports medicine websites were searched using keywords ‘kinesio taping/tape’. From 97 articles, ten met the inclusion criteria (article reported data for effect of KT on a musculoskeletal outcome and had a control group) and were retained for meta-analyses.Magnitude-based inferences were used to assess clinical worth of positive outcomes reported in studies. Only two studies investigated sports-related injuries (shoulder impingement), and just one of these involved injured athletes. Studies attending to musculoskeletal outcomes in healthy participants were included on the basis that these outcomes may have implications for the prevention of sporting injuries. The efficacy of KT in pain relief was trivial given there were no clinically important results. There were inconsistent range-of-motion outcome results, with at least small beneficial results seen in two studies, but trivial results in two other studies across numerous joint measurements. There was a likely beneficial effect for proprioception regarding grip force sense error, but no positive outcome for ankle proprioception. Seven outcomes relating to strength were beneficial, although there were numerous trivial findings for quadriceps and hamstrings peak torque, and grip strength measures. KT had some substantial effects on muscle activity, but it was unclear whether these changes were beneficial or harmful. In conclusion, there was little quality evidence to support the use ofKT over other types of elastic taping in themanagement or prevention of sports injuries. KT may have a small beneficial role in improving strength, range of motion in certain injured cohorts and force sense error compared with other tapes, but further studies are needed to confirm these findings. The amount of case study and anecdotal support for KT warrants well designed experimental research, particularly pertaining to sporting injuries, so that practitioners can be confident that KT is beneficial for their athletes.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Thelen MD, Dauber JA, Stoneman PD. The clinical efficacy of kinesio tape for shoulder pain: a randomized, doubleblinded, clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2008; 38 (7): 389–95
Lephart SM. The role of proprioception in the treatment of sports injuries. Sports Exerc Inj 1995; 1: 96–102
Bassett KT, Lingman SA, Ellis RF. The use and treatment efficacy of kinaesthetic taping for musculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review. N Z J Physiother 2010; 38 (2): 56
Gonzalez-Iglesias J, Fernandez De Las Peaas C, Cleland J, et al. Short-term effects of cervical Kinesio taping on pain and cervical range of motion in patients with acute whiplash injury: a randomized clinical trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2009; 39 (7): 515–21
Hsu YH, Chen WY, Lin HC, et al. The effects of taping on scapular kinematics and muscle performance in baseball players with shoulder impingement syndrome. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2009; 19 (6): 1092–9
Higgins JPT, Green S, editors. Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions 4.2.6 [updated 2006 Sep]. In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 4. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2006
Juni P, Altman DG, Egger M. Systematic reviews in health care: assessing the quality of controlled clinical trials. Br Med J 2001 Jul; 323 (7303): 42–6
Batterham AM, Hopkins WG. Making meaningful inferences about magnitudes. Int J Sports Physiol Perf 2006; 1 (1): 50–7
Chang H-Y, Chou K-Y, Lin J-J, et al. Immediate effect of forearm Kinesio taping on maximal grip strength and force sense in healthy collegiate athletes. Phys Ther in Sport 2010; 11 (4): 122–7
Vithoulka I, Beneka A, Malliou P, et al. The effects of Kinesio-Taping on quadriceps strength during isokinetic exercise in healthy non athlete women. Isokinet Exerc Sci 2010; 18 (1): 1–6
Yoshida A, Kahanov L. The effect of kinesio taping on lower trunk range of motions. Res SportsMed 2007; 15 (2): 103–12
Fu T-C, Wong AMK, Pei Y-C, et al. Effect of Kinesio Taping on muscle strength in athletes: a pilot study. J Sci Med Sport 2008; 11 (2): 198–201
Halseth T, McChesney JW, De Beliso M, et al. The effects of Kinesio taping on proprioception at the ankle. J Sports Sci Med 2004; 3 (1): 1–7
Lee J-H, Yoo W-G, Lee K-S. Effects of head-neck rotation and Kinesio taping of the flexor muscles on dominanthand grip strength. J Phys Ther Sci 2010; 22 (3): 285–9
Stupik A, Dwornik M, BiaBøoszewski D, et al. Effect of Kinesio taping on bioelectrical activity of vastus medialis muscle. Preliminary report. Ortopedia Traumatologia Rehabilitacja 2007; 9 (6): 644–51
Hopkins WG. A spreadsheet for combining outcomes from several subject groups. Sportscience 2006; 10: 51–3
Hopkins WG. A spreadsheet for deriving a confidence interval, mechanistic inference and clinical inference from a P value. Sportscience 2007; 11: 16–20
Kase K, Wallis J. The latest kinesio taping method. Ski-J 2002
Kase K, Hashimoto T, Tomoki O. Development of kinesio taping perfect manual. Kinesio Taping Association 1996; 6-10: 117–8
Murray H. Effects of kinesio taping on muscle strength and ROM after ACL-repair [abstract]. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2000; 30 (1): A–14
Kneeshaw D. Shoulder taping in the clinical setting. J Body Mov Ther 2002; 6: 2–8
Kahanov L. Kinesio taping: part 1. An overview of its use in athletes. Athlet Ther Today 2007; 12 (3): 17–8
Farrar JT, Young JP, La Moreaux L, et al. Clinical importance of changes in chronic pain intensity measured on an 11-point numerical pain rating scale. Pain 2001; 94 (2): 149–58
Fletcher JP, Bandy WD. Intrarater reliability of CROM measurement of cervical spine active range of motion in persons with and without neck pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2008 Oct; 38 (10):640–5
Hammer WI. Functional soft-tissue examination and treatment by manual methods. 3rd ed. Boston (MA): Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2006
Grigg P. Peripheral neural mechanisms in proprioception. J Sport Rehabil 1994; 3: 2–17
Bonacci J, Green D, Saunders PU, et al. Change in running kinematics after cycling are related to alterations in running economy in triathletes. J Sci Med Sport 2010; 13: 460–4
About this article
Cite this article
Williams, S., Whatman, C., Hume, P.A. et al. Kinesio Taping in Treatment and Prevention of Sports Injuries. Sports Med 42, 153–164 (2012). https://doi.org/10.2165/11594960-000000000-00000
- Sport Injury
- Lateral Flexion
- Numerical Pain Rating Scale
- Trunk Flexion
- Orthop Sport Phys