Immediate effects of adhesive tape on pain and disability in individuals with knee osteoarthritis Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of two knee taping techniques, therapeutic tape and neutral tape, on pain and observed disability in symptomatic generalized knee osteoarthritis (OA). METHODS: Using a within-subjects study design, 18 participants were tested under three conditions in random order: untaped, wearing therapeutic knee tape and wearing neutral knee tape. Outcome measures included assessment of pain during each of four activities (using a visual analogue scale) and assessment of observed disability (walking speed, timed up and go test, and the step test). RESULTS: Therapeutic tape significantly reduced pain on three of the four activities assessed, when compared with the neutral and untaped conditions (P<0.017). The only statistically significant change in observed disability was detected in the step test (P<0.001), in favour of the therapeutic tape. CONCLUSIONS: Therapeutic knee tape is a simple, inexpensive strategy that increases the treatment options for therapists and patients in the conservative management of knee OA. Whilst effective in immediately reducing pain, it does not appear to have a significant immediate impact on observed disability associated with the disease. Therapeutic tape may be used as an adjunct to drug and exercise therapies, potentially augmenting the individual benefits of each.

publication date

  • July 1, 2003