Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is effective in the treatment of calcific tendinopathy of the rotator cuff, eliciting an analgesic/anti-inflammatory action and promoting tissue regeneration. Kinesio taping (KT), another recently-introduced rehabilitative tool, exerts an analgesic and biomechanical action on joints and muscles. ESWT and KT may have a synergic effect when used in combination, but the effectiveness of the association has not been established.
The aim of this study was to test if the association of KT with ESWT is superior to ESWT alone in the treatment of rotator cuff calcific tendinopathy.
Randomized controlled trial.
Rehabilitation Institute outpatients.
Forty-two patients with rotator cuff calcific tendinopathy were randomly assigned to the experimental group (ESWT+KT, N.=21) or control (ESWT, N.=21).
In the experimental group, patients underwent three sessions (once a week for 3 weeks) of ESWT with KT applied at the end of each session. Controls underwent three sessions of ESWT only. All patients were assessed before treatment (T0) and at 1 (T1), 4 (T2) and 12 weeks (T3) after the end of treatment with the following outcome measures: a visual analogue scale (VAS), the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire, Subjective Shoulder Rating Questionnaire (SSRQ), and Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS).
Both groups showed significant improvement in all outcome measures, but the time course differed between the two groups. At T1 vs. T0, the improvement was significantly better in ESWT+KT than ESWT on VAS (P=0.007), DASH (P<0.0001) and SSRQ (P=0.0001). Successive improvements at T2 vs. T1 and T3 vs. T2 did not differ significantly between the groups. At the end of follow-up, ESWT+KT still showed significantly greater improvement than ESWT on VAS (P=0.02) and SSRQ (P=0.038).
KT associated with ESWT seems to improve the recovery in rotator cuff calcific tendinopathy with a faster therapeutic response compared to ESWT only.
Clinical rehabilitation impact
Our results suggest the effectiveness of using KT as adjuvant therapy to ESWT in rotator cuff calcific tendinopathy, through enhancing the short-term analgesic action and the medium- to long-term biological-regenerative effects.