The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review assessing the effectiveness of elastic bandaging in orthopedic and sports injuries prevention and rehabilitation. The authors searched the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, EMBASE and Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), with key words ‘elastic bandaging’ in combination, respectively, with (1) first aid, (2) sports injuries, (3) orthopedic injuries and (4) sports injuries prevention and rehabilitation. Research studies were selected based upon the use of the term ‘elastic bandaging’ in the abstract. Final selection was made by applying inclusion and exclusion criteria to the full text. Studies were included if they were English, peer-reviewed clinical trials on the effects of elastic bandaging for orthopedic injuries prevention and rehabilitation. Twelve studies met the above criteria and were included in the final analysis. Data collected included number of participants, condition being treated, treatment used, control group, outcome measures and results. Studies were critically analyzed using the PEDro scale.
The studies in this review fell into two (2) categories: studies in athletes (N=2) and non-athletes (N=10). All included trials had moderate-to-high quality, scoring (≥5 on the PEDro scale). The PEDro scores for the studies in athletes and non-athletes ranged from 5 to 6 out of 10 and from 5 to 8 out of 10, respectively. The quality of studies was mixed, ranging from higher to moderate methodological quality clinical trials. Overall, elastic bandaging can assist proprioceptive function of knee and ankle joint. Because of the moderate methodological quality and insufficient number of clinical trials, further effects of the elastic bandaging could not be confirmed.