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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Williams 2012.

Kinesio taping in treatment and prevention of sports injuries

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Tags: devices, treatment, running, exercise, self-treatment

PainSci summary of Williams 2012?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★☆☆☆?2-star ratings are for studies with flaws, bias, and/or conflict of interest; published in lesser journals. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

This meta-analysis of kineso taping for sports injuries in New Zealand’s Sports Medicine journal doesn’t really have much good news to report, but it comes off as pro-taping and cautiously optimistic:

In conclusion, there was little quality evidence to support the use of KT over other types of elastic taping in the management or prevention of sports injuries. KT may have a small beneficial role in improving strength, range of motion … . 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.

And yet even that tepid report may be over-enthusiastic. This formal response in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Kamper) just seethes with irritation:

Despite the title of the review, the authors do not report a meta-analysis of the included studies. … The review has several flaws, the most serious of which is selective reporting of outcomes. As only positive (significant) results are reported it is not possible to assess the entirety of the evidence for effectiveness of kinesio taping. In addition, while the authors report to have followed the methodological guidelines of the Cochrane Collaboration this does not appear to be the case. … Clinicians should look to other sources of information …

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

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 injured muscles 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 of KT 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 of KT over other types of elastic taping in the management 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.

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