This is old stuff but people still think it actually works.
When Chinese tennis star Li Na won the Australian open final this weekend, she had two long, wide strips of black tape criss-crossing her right knee. And in the semifinals, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska had two similar pieces of tape criss-crossed over her right shoulder. Sports fans have been seeing this sight for a few years now: we saw these big pieces of tape slathered across the legs of many Olympic swimmers in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Why is it so popular? After all, with so many world-class athletes using it, it must help somehow, right? Nope. Athetic tape has become hugely popular thanks to clever marketing: during the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, tape manufacturer KT tape donated its “kinesio tape” to 58 countries for their athletes to use. Many athletes gave it a try, and millions of viewers saw it on television.
Fortunately, this claim is pretty easy to study, and multiple studies were done after the 2008 Olympics, looking at the possible benefits of athletic tape. A review of ten scientific studies published in the journal Sports Medicine in 2012 found little benefit. They reported that “The efficacy of KT [kinesio tape] in pain relief was trivial given there were no clinically important results.”
There are a remarkable number of studies looking at various kinds of taping for joint or muscle problems, but the evidence is, on the whole, weak at best.
KT is elastic, while other tape techniques are not. Any type of tape may be beneficial as support but nothing has shown that KT is anything special.
We’ve done stories on Kinesio tape before.
The stuff has been in use for 30 years and all that still comes up are anecdotes? This sounds a lot like silly Power Balance nonsense. People THINK it helps them but it does not that can be physcially measured.