The Effects of Kinesiology Tape on Pain and Functional Measures Acutely and Over Time in Patients with Patellofemoral Pain

Open Access
Montalvo, Alicia Marie
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
August 17, 2015
Committee Members:
  • William E Buckley, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Sayers John Miller Iii, Committee Member
  • Robert L Sainburg, Committee Member
  • Wayne Joseph Sebastianelli, Committee Member
  • Giampietro Luciano Vairo, Special Member
  • anterior knee pain
  • patellofemoral pain
  • kinesio tape
  • placebo
  • performance
Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is the most commonly diagnosed pathology in sports medicine clinics. While its exact etiology remains unknown, factors contributing to its development are suggested to include, but are not limited to, dysfunction of the gluteus medius, abnormal trochlear morphology, and altered sagittal plane kinematics. These factors are generally agreed to result in the patellar maltracking that is proposed to cause the pathology’s trademark symptoms. In most patients, PFP is chronic or recurrent, which has negative effects on their ability to be physically active. The lack of understanding regarding the development of PFP makes it difficult for clinicians to treat successfully. In addition to physical rehabilitation, therapeutic taping techniques are a part of the standard of care of PFP. Traditionally, McConnell taping techniques have been used to correct the position of the patella. Recently, the use of kinesiology tape (KT), a cotton/elastic therapeutic tape, has grown in popularity among athletes and clinicians alike. This therapeutic tape is believed to reduce pain and improve performance via cutaneous stimulation, though neither its efficacy nor its mechanism of action are well understood. The first chapter of this dissertation focused on reviewing existing literature that investigated the effects of KT on pain and quadriceps performance in physically active PFP patients. Due to the lack of literature specifically utilizing PFP patients, the second chapter of this dissertation focused on reviewing and quantifying the effects of KT on pain in individuals with musculoskeletal injury. Results from these reviews indicated that further research was necessary. Therefore, for the third chapter, an experiment was performed to further investigate the effects of KT on pain and functional measures in physically active PFP patients. Since KT manufacturers recommend prolonged applications, this experiment was designed to investigate the effects of both acute and prolonged applications. Results of the research indicate that, overall, KT application resulted in greater pain reduction and greater improvements in performance than placebo both acutely and over time as demonstrated by effect sizes. However, the main effect of intervention was never statistically significant indicating that changes in scores may have been due to chance.