Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most debilitating diseases associated with aging, and is estimated to affect 9% of men and 18% of women over 65years of age. Knee osteoarthritis affects the condylar surfaces of the joint and if left untreated generally leads to the slow and painful degeneration of the joint and surrounding structures. With few non-invasive treatment options for osteoarthritis patients, this study investigated the effect of therapeutic taping on knee pain in combination with spatiotemporal, kinematic, kinetic and muscle activation measures. Fifteen participants (10 male, 5 female) with radiographic diagnosed knee osteoarthritis attended a single testing session and walked along at a self-selected pace under three different conditions (no tape, sham tape, therapeutic tape). The conditions were randomised within each testing session. Knee pain, lower limb biomechanics and muscle activation were analysed using a one-way repeated measures ANOVA to determine if any differences existed between the three taping conditions (α=0.05). Therapeutic knee taping was shown to significantly reduce the self-reported levels of knee joint pain during straight line walking. No significant differences in spatiotemporal, knee kinetic, knee kinematic or lower limb muscle activation variables were observed between the taping conditions.
There is evidence supporting the use of therapeutic knee taping for the management of osteoarthritis related knee pain. Future research is recommended to better understand the complex acute neuro-musculoskeletal adaptations that explain these positive knee pain findings.