Taping for patellofemoral pain has been used for many years, with McConnell’s method of “medial glide” taping being the most widely used. This taping technique, utilising a low allergy cloth tape (eg Fixomull) with a rigid tape over the top is helpful for many people with this problem, however the drawback of this technique is the loss of normal range of motion in the knee because the tape is so stiff.
Chen et al looked at the use of Kinesiology tape in altering the biomechanics in subjects with PFJ pain during stair climbing. In their small study, they found that kinesiology tape resulted in decreased ground reaction forces when compared with no tape or placebo taping. This suggests that the subjects with knee pain were avoiding knee flexion/force attenuation whilst they had pain, and that the kinesiology tape reduced the pain enough for them to allow greater knee flexion and therefore have better force attenuation through the lower limb. They also found that the onset of VMO activity occurred earlier with kinesiology tape. This is consistent with findings from other studies that have used rigid tape.
Overall, this small study shows some similar benefits using kinesiology tape when compared with traditional McConnell taping. However, given the flexible nature of kinesiology tape compared with rigid tape, patient comfort, and therefore compliance, may be greatly enhanced with the use of kinesiology tape.
Chen, P.L., Hong, W.H., Lin, C.H., & Chen, W.C., (2008). Biomechanics Effects of Kinesio Taping for Persons with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome During Stair Climbing. International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering Proceedings Vol 21. 395-397.