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K-Tape (Kinesio Taping) lambasted

Posted 03 October 2022

Exercise physiologist Nick Tiller, MRes, PhD, has examined the jargon-filled promotional claims and scientific evidence regarding kinesiology tape, also known as Kinesio Tape, KT Tape, or K-Tape, commonly used by athletes to stabilize injured joints. He concluded:

When the omnipresence of K-tape in health and fitness is contrasted against the evidence for its benefit, the disparity is among the largest I have seen for any intervention, second only to chiropractic and homeopathy. Exactly how long this practice will endure, despite the damning evidence, remains to be seen, although if other pseudoscientific practices serve as an indication, K-Tape may be with us indefinitely. Notwithstanding, there is likely to be a potent placebo effect that some proponents will use to justify its continued use in the clinic. In fact, around 40 percent of athletic trainers and physiotherapists are already cognizant that K-tape works only via placebo. They use it anyway. Hence the brand’s estimated value of about $350 million.

Reference: Tiller N. Kinesio Tape: A magnificent marketing machine. Skeptical Inquirer, Aug 22, 2022

Extract

“There is extensive literature on K-Tape. Despite a sprinkling of positive studies—showing a small benefit on ankle proprioception and stability—the data are overwhelmingly insignificant. A key-word search on PubMed (a popular online search tool for life sciences and biomedical research) returned fifteen review articles and/or meta-analyses, authored by various groups and institutions, that have summarized the effects of K-Tape on injury management, rehabilitation, and exercise performance. I encourage you to study their methods and results independently, but here are the cliff notes, organized by body part.”

Source: Consumer Health Digest #22-37, October 2, 2022

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