Do Kinesio-Tape Results Match the Hype?
(AAOS Now 11/12) It started showing up in earnest at the 2008 Olympics-tape on athletes-not white cloth wound around ankles, but swatches in various colors applied in seemingly haphazard patterns to the body surface. By the 2012 Olympics, the tape was regularly seen not only during the London games but in sports leagues, tournaments, and various athletic settings around the world. With all the exposure, many are asking what does it do and does it work? Kenisio tape was developed in the 1970s by Kenzo Kaze-a choripractor and acupuncturist. It is made of cotton, is latex free, and has a heat activated acrylic adhesive.
Plenty of elite athletes believe in it and claim that the tape (which replicates the thickness and elasticity of skin) is comfortable, flexible, and provides support to muscles and joints without limiting range of motion-along with helping with function, stability, blood flow, and peace of mind.
But, clinical trials do not provide much support for the tape. There have been a few positive results. One study found that the tape provided relief from shoulder pain immediately after application, but, the effects did not last over time. Another study found small beneficial results with range of motion. None of the studies reported negative effects which may be why trainers use the tape on athletes who report benefits with it. According to Aaron Brock ATC, director of sports medicine for USA Volleyball, he has had “hit and miss results…some people absolutely love it…and sometimes, from a therapeutic perspective, we’re doing so many things, we don’t know what is effective and what isn’t…”
Bottom line, more scientifically valid research is needed to make a conclusive determination for its claims.