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Research from Atlanta, Georgia has found that kinesiology tape applied to subjects with anterior knee pain was helpful in reducing their pain during functional movements.  Anterior knee pain, or patellofemoral pain, is a common condition that the authors estimate accounts for 30-40% of all visits to sports medicine professionals.

This crossover study involved 49 subjects, aged between 12 and 25 years old who had patellofemoral pain for longer than four weeks.  Their pain levels were assessed during four functional tasks: squatting, stepping up a step, stepping down a step and during a hopping task.   The subjects rated their pain from 0-10 for these tasks whilst either having kinesiology tape applied, or a sham version applied to their sore knee.  The authors randomised which of the two tape applications was used first, and then the other condition was tested within 72 hours.  In addition to rating the pain for the hopping task, the authors measured the distance covered by the subject with three consecutive hops with each tape condition.  We commonly refer to this test as the “Triple hop for distance”.

The study found that the “therapeutic” kinesiology tape application reduced the subjects’ knee pain significantly when compared to the sham application for the stepping up, the stepping down and the hopping tasks, but not for the squatting task.  Additionally, the distance hopped was greater with the kinesiology tape when compared with the sham tape.

These findings add to the growing evidence that kinesiology tape has a role in providing a positional stimulus to the brain so that improvements in function can be made.  This could be due to improved muscle activity once pain inhibition is lessened, or due to improved body awareness and therefore movement patterns.  Either way, it is good news for those with knee pain!

Freedman, S.R., Brody, L.T., Rosenthal, M., & Wise, J.C., (2014).  Short-term effects of patellar kinesio taping on pain and hop function in patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome.  Sports Health: a multidisciplinary approach. doi 10.1177/1941738114537793

PFJ article

Shani knee taping