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Kinesio Taping For Knee Osteoarthritis - Types and Uses

Published on Jan 25, 2023   -  7 min read


Knee osteoarthritis is a common condition that can cause pain and disability. Kinesio taping relieves symptoms and improves function.


Kinesiotaping is a therapeutic tool utilized by physiotherapists to prevent or treat various injuries and painful conditions. In addition, it is also utilized to treat other conditions such as scarring, adhesion, edema, etc. Kinesio taping was first developed by a Japanese Chiropractor, Dr.Kenzo Kase, in 1979. The primary intention was to help relieve the pain, improve the range of motion, increase blood flow and promote healing following soft tissue injuries. This article discusses how Kinesio taping works and how it may help relieve knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

What Is Knee Osteoarthritis?

Knee osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee joint breaks down and wears away, leading to bone-on-bone contact and causing pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion. As the disease progresses, these symptoms can worsen and lead to difficulty with everyday activities such as walking or climbing stairs.

Osteoarthritis can be caused by aging and overuse. It typically develops gradually over time and can affect one or both knees. Treatments are available to help relieve symptoms and improve function. One treatment is Kinesio taping.

Kinesiotaping is a therapeutic technique that uses tape to support and stabilize muscles and joints. In addition, the tape lifts the skin slightly off the underlying tissue, reducing pain and inflammation. As a result, Kinesio Taping may reduce pain and swelling in the knee and improve overall function.

What Are the Causes of Knee Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a prevalent condition that can affect individuals of any age but is most commonly seen in those over 50. Females are more likely than males to develop knee osteoarthritis. It is caused by the breakdown of cartilage, which is the cushioning material between the bones that make up the joint.

Over time, as the cartilage begins to break down, the bones of the joint rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness. Various factors, including genetics, previous injuries, and joint overuse, can cause osteoarthritis. Obesity and aging are also risk factors for developing this condition. Without proper treatment, osteoarthritis can lead to permanent joint damage and disability.

What Are the Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis?

Pain and disability are the most common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage between the knee joint bones wears away, leaving them to rub against each other. As a result, they can cause inflammation and pain in the knee joint.

  • Dull ache or sharp stabbing sensation of pain, particularly when you get up while sitting for a long time.

  • Other symptoms may include stiffness, swelling, and difficulty bending and straightening the knee.

  • The patient may also hear or experience creaking and clicking noises in the knee.

How Is Knee Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?

Medical and physical examination has to be done by a healthcare provider to confirm the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The examination might include the following:

What Tests Do Healthcare Providers Use to Diagnose Knee Osteoarthritis?

  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imagery) - It is a scan test that produces clear images of the structures inside the body by using a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer.

  • X-Ray - It is a quick, painless test that produces images of the structures inside the body.

  • Blood Test - A blood test is a laboratory analysis performed on a blood sample that is usually extracted from a vein in the arm using a hypodermic needle.

  • Arthrocentesis (Joint Aspiration) - It is a procedure to remove extra fluid through a needle from a joint.

What Are the Possible Ways to Treat Knee Osteoarthritis?

Surgery, injections, and nonsurgical procedures can be used to treat osteoarthritis. However, healthcare providers should try nonsurgical treatment before recommending any invasive treatment or surgery.

Surgical Treatments Include:

  • Knee Osteotomy - A knee osteotomy is a surgical procedure used to treat pain and instability caused by damage or arthritis in a portion of the knee joint. When only one area of the knee is damaged, doctors may recommend an osteotomy instead of a knee replacement.

  • Cartilage Grafting - A healthy cartilage is used to fill the hole in the cartilage area.

  • Partial Knee Replacement - Partial knee replacement can be performed When osteoarthritis damage to a knee is limited to one compartment. The only part of the knee that has been damaged is replaced. Because of the quick and usually painless recovery, partial knee replacement is becoming more popular among active young people.

  • Total Knee Replacement - Knee joint replacement surgery involves the replacement of a knee joint with an artificial joint known as a prosthesis.

Nonsurgical Treatments Include:

  • Providing painkillers (using pain medications).

  • Providing physical therapy.

  • By maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Using a knee brace.

  • Using Cortisone (steroid) injection.

  • Using orthotics (special footwear such as insoles).

  • Viscosupplementation (is a method in which a thick fluid (hyaluronate) is injected into the knee joint).

How Does Kinesio Taping Help Knee Osteoarthritis?

  • Kinesiotaping is a type of rehabilitative taping technique designed to reduce pain and inflammation, improve posture, and aid recovery from injuries. It has become increasingly popular for treating knee osteoarthritis, a chronic condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints.

  • Kinesiotaping provides a physical barrier between the muscles and joints, activating the body's lymphatic system and increasing blood flow. As a result, it helps to reduce inflammation, improve joint alignment, and relieve pressure on the surrounding tissues. Additionally, it can help reduce pain by providing sensory feedback, activating the brain's natural healing processes.

  • The tape is applied to the skin in a specific pattern based on the individual's unique needs. The tape is then stretched in a specific direction to provide compression and support to the affected area. When appropriately used, Kinesio taping can help to improve the range of motion, reduce swelling, and alleviate discomfort associated with knee osteoarthritis.

  • In conclusion, Kinesio taping can be an excellent tool for knee osteoarthritis patients. It can support the affected joint, reduce inflammation and pain, and help improve mobility and function.

What Is a Kinesiology Tape?

  • Kinesiology tape is a fine, stretchable, and breathable dressing. Cotton, or a cotton blend, is the most commonly used material to make the tape. People wear tape on their skin during exercise or sports, usually around a joint or muscle.

  • The tape's elasticity does not limit the application area, implying that it does not affect a person's range of motion.

  • In 1973, Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor, invented the kinesiology tape. He proposed that an external component could help muscles and other tissues function better.

  • Many athletes and sports people use kinesiology tape to support their muscles and joints and prevent injury.

How to Apply Kinesiology Tape to Knee?

A person may find it helpful to tape the knee if they are experiencing the following:

  • Tendinitis.

  • Patella tracking problems.

  • Instability.

  • General knee pain.

Applying Kinesio tape to the knee is relatively easy, but it is essential to ensure that it is applied correctly to maximize the benefits. Here are some dos and don'ts for applying the tape.


  • Before applying the tape, clean the area around the knee using rubbing alcohol, sanitizers, or skin cleansers, and remove any hair, lotions, or oils.

  • The patient should also warm the knee by stretching or moving it before taping it.

  • Before applying each strip, round the corners; this prevents the tape's corners from prematurely lifting. Then, when applying the tape, start by measuring the knee length, so cut the tape accordingly.

  • Then, stretch the tape to one-third of its length and apply it in an I-pattern across the knee. Begin at the middle of the knee, continue up towards the hip, then down towards the ankle. Make sure the tape is smooth and secure on the skin.


  • Do not apply kinesiology tape immediately after exercising or showering; it is not recommended.

  • Kinesiology tape should not be used on damaged or irritated skin. Do not cover rashes, cuts, or sunburn areas.

  • Avoid touching the adhesive side during application. When handling, leave some backings on and gradually remove them when applying the last of the tape.

  • When applying the tape, only stretch it to the ends with 100% stretch. Only fully stretch the tape's center section and apply the final few inches on either end with no stretch.

  • When removing the tape, avoid ripping it from the skin. Instead, gently peel the tape away from the skin while pressing down on the surface.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Kinesio Tape?

Using Kinesio taping for knee osteoarthritis is a relatively safe and non-invasive therapy, but there are some possible side effects to consider.

  • It is important to note that if one experiences discomfort or irritation while using Kinesio taping, they should discontinue and consult the doctor or physical therapist.

  • The most common side effect of using Kinesio tape is skin irritation. The tape can cause mild redness or itching in the applied area, which usually subsides quickly. The patient should remove the tape and consult a healthcare provider if the irritation persists or worsens.

  • Some people may also be allergic to the adhesive on the tape. If an individual has allergies or sensitivities to adhesive materials, they should be mindful before beginning treatment.

  • Other potential side effects include increased pain in the taped area and difficulty with mobility due to the stiffness of the tape. Additionally, suppose the tape is applied too tightly. In that case, it can restrict blood flow to the area, causing numbness or tingling sensations.

  • Kinesiotaping is a safe and effective way to help relieve symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Still, it is essential to be aware of any potential side effects.


Kinesiotaping is a non-invasive therapy that may help reduce pain and improve function in people with knee osteoarthritis. Studies have found that applying it to the affected area can reduce pain and swelling and improve the range of motion. It also helps reduce inflammation and promote healing. However, the patients should do it under the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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Last reviewed at:
25 Jan 2023  -  7 min read




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