Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

Taping Helps Kneecaps Stay on Track

There's more to a kneecap than meets the eye. Located over the knee joint, it seems to move up and down easily enough. But if the kneecap gets off its track, the cartilage behind the knee can get torn and frayed. This causes pain behind the kneecap called patellofemoral pain (PFP). People who have this condition really appreciate just how much the kneecap does during walking, climbing stairs, and squatting.

With PFP, there is a tendency to avoid standing on the affected leg or using the muscles around the kneecap. This results in a slower walking pace and changes how much the knee joint moves. The knee bends and straightens less. There is a tendency to lean forward when going up stairs. These are the ways the body reacts to pain of PFP. It compensates by taking as much pressure off the knee as possible.

One way to treat PFP is to tape the kneecap. This holds the kneecap in its proper place and decreases pain. Climbing stairs becomes easier. The body returns to a normal posture, with a more upright trunk. Patellar taping improves kneecap tracking, or the ability of the kneecap to stay on its track. Taping also improves the ability to stand on the leg. This restores the normal pattern and speed of walking.

Taping helps people with patellofemoral pain by holding their kneecap in place. One thing that doesn't change with taping is the activity of the quadriceps muscle around the knee. Researchers who study the effects of taping on the knee suggest additional treatment for this problem. Once the kneecap has been taped and realigned, muscle retraining can begin. This is another important part of the rehabilitation process.


Gretchen B. Salsich, PT, PhD, et al. The Effects of Patellar Taping On Knee Kinetics, Kinematics, and Vastus Lateralis Muscle Activity During Stair Ambulation in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. January 2002. Vol. 12. No. 1. Pp. 3-10.

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*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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