To date, published systematic reviews concerning the effects of Kinesio Taping (KT) on muscle strength have not analysed facilitatory and inhibitory applications separately. As a result, their results could be substantially affected by clinical heterogeneity. This meta-analysis was conducted to determine the effectiveness of using a facilitatory application of KT for lower limb muscle strength and functional performance (distance in a single-leg hop and vertical jump height) in individuals without disabilities and in those with musculoskeletal conditions (muscle fatigue, chronic musculoskeletal diseases, and post-operative orthopaedic conditions).
Searches were conducted on six major electronic databases. Randomised controlled trials that used facilitatory KT were included. Standardised mean differences (SMDs) were calculated and random-effects models were used for analysis.
Thirty-seven randomised controlled trials were included. KT was superior to controls for improving lower limb muscle strength in individuals with muscle fatigue (short-term effect, pooled SMD = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.09 to 0.96; long-term effect, pooled SMD = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.12 to 1.11) and in individuals with chronic musculoskeletal diseases (pooled SMD = 1.24, 95% CI = 0.33 to 2.16) with large effect sizes. The use of KT in populations without disabilities was not supported. There is insufficient evidence for the effect of KT on functional performance in individuals with musculoskeletal conditions.
Contrary to prior research, the existing evidence shows that KT can improve lower limb muscle strength in individuals with muscle fatigue and chronic musculoskeletal diseases. The effect sizes produced in this meta-analysis show that KT may be superior to some existing treatments for these conditions. In addition, this study suggests that practitioners may wish to avoid the use of KT in individuals without disabilities.