Elastic therapeutic taping (ET) has been widely used for a series of musculoskeletal diseases in recent years. However, there remains clinical uncertainty over its efficiency for knee osteoarthritis (knee OA) management. To assess the effects of ET on patients with knee OA, we investigated outcomes including self- reported pain, knee flexibility, knee-related health status, adverse events, muscle strength, and proprioceptive sensibility.
Ten databases including PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Web of Science, PEDro, Research Gate, CNKI, CBM, and Wanfang were systematically searched. Eleven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with 168 participants with knee OA provided data for the meta-analysis.
Statistical significance was reported in four from five outcomes, such as self-related pain (during activity, MD −0.85, 95% CI, −1.55 to −0.14; P =0.02), knee flexibility (MD 7.59, 95% CI, 0.61 to 14.57; P =0.03), knee-related health status (WOMAC scale, MD −4.10, 95% CI, −7.75 to −0.45; P =0.03), and proprioceptive sensibility (MD −4.69, 95% CI, −7.75 to −1.63; P =0.003), while no significant enhancement was reported regarding knee muscle strength (MD 1.25, 95% CI, −0.03 to 2.53; P =0.06). Adverse events were not reported in any of the included trials. The overall quality of evidence was from moderate to very low.
In conclusion, there is underpowered evidence to suggest that ET is effective in the treatment of knee OA. Large, well-designed RCTs with better designs are needed.