The Sticky Truth about Taping Knee CapsTaping the knee has become a standard method of treating pain caused by a poorly aligned kneecap (patella). The idea is that the tape helps hold the kneecap in better alignment. But does the tape actually improve the position of the kneecap? Past research is unclear.
This study involved 16 young women with alignment problems of their patella. Researchers took pictures of the bones of the subjects' knees using computed tomography (CT). The CT scans were used to see the position of the knee caps before and after taping the knee, and with or without having the subject tighten the quadriceps muscle.
Only four knees showed even a slight improvement in patellar alignment with taping. In the rest of the knees, taping made no difference in alignment at all.
Patellar taping may indeed help ease pain or provide support for the knee cap. But the authors conclude that the benefits from taping do not seem to be from correcting the alignment of the patella.
Antonio Gigante, MD, et al. The Effects of Patellar Taping on Patellofemoral Incongruence. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. January/February 2001. Vol. 29. No. 1. Pp. 88-92.
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