Elastic Tape Unlikely to Help Rotator Cuff Pain

(Reuters Health) – It may be time to reconsider the use of elastic therapeutic tape, or kinesiology tape, for painful shoulder muscles, a review of previous studies suggests.

Proponents say the tape helps heal athletic injuries by microscopically lifting the skin and promoting drainage of fluid that carries waste products away from injured tissues.

To analyze the benefits and harms of using kinesiology tape to treat painful rotator cuff muscles, experts searched the medical literature and identified 23 trials that assessed the effects of the tape on rotator cuff disease in 1,054 adults.

All the trials had methodological problems that likely biased the results, the researchers reported in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Based on the trials’ “very low‐quality evidence,” kinesiology taping for rotator cuff disease “has uncertain effects” on pain, function, and range of motion compared to sham taping or other nonsurgical treatments, the researchers concluded.

The tape might be better than other conservative treatments for improving quality of life, but that too is uncertain, they said.

They did not have enough side-effect data to estimate the risks.

Overall, the authors conclude, kinesiology taping “seems to demonstrate little or no benefit” for rotator cuff disease.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3fVZ9hI Cochrane Library, online August 8, 2021.

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