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“Piriformis syndrome” is a somewhat controversial diagnosis as its existence has been challenged of late, as has the concept of “trigger points” within muscles.  Nomenclature aside, most clinicians would agree that there are often palpable areas of tightness within the piriformis muscle and patient symptoms can often be relieved through treating these areas with various modalities.  An Iranian group has found that kinesiology tape had a positive effect on patients with piriformis region pain, when compared with a control group who didn’t receive any treatment.

The study was a non-randomised but single blinded trial.  Fifty one patients that presented to a clinic were recruited into the study, with the first 33 allocated to the kinesiology taping group, and the next 18 allocated to the control group.  The patients were included in the study based on the findings of a number of tests including orthopaedic tests and palpatory findings.  The measured variables were pain on palpation via VAS, and internal hip rotation range in prone with the hip in neutral and the knee at 90 degrees flexion.  The variables were measured immediately pre taping, post taping and then at day three.  The control subjects were measured at baseline, then ten minutes later, and then also at day three.  The kinesiology taping applications remained in place for two to three days.

The study found that the taped subjects had increased range of hip internal rotation and a significant reduction in pain at day three when compared with the controls, who showed no change in that time.

Hasherimad graphs

The study has clear limitations including the non-randomised allocation of subjects and a pain measure that relied on palpation which was not objectively controlled.  Therefore the findings need to be interpreted with a degree of caution.  However, as with most kinesiology taping applications, the relative risk of the intervention is low and the cost is minimal, so it could be a worthwhile adjunct to a practitioner’s usual management of this presentation.

Hashemirad, F., Karimi, N., & Kehavarz, R., (2016). The effect of kinesio taping technique on trigger points of the piriformis muscle.  Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.02.002