Objective: To determine whether therapeutic taping, which includes elastic (Kinesio tape) and non-elastic (Leukotape) taping, is superior to control taping in improving pain and functions for patients with knee arthritis. To understand whether both elastic and non-elastic taping are beneficial. Methods: We searched the PubMed and Scopus databases from their earliest record to 31 May 2017 for randomized controlled and cross-over studies that used taping to treat knee osteoarthritis. We extracted the mean differences and SD between baseline and posttreatment for selected outcomes measured in the experimental and control groups for subsequent meta-analyses. Results: In total, 11 studies were included in the review. Of which, five Leukotaping and five Kinesio taping studies involving 379 participants were used in the meta-analysis. PEDro scores of the Leukotaping and Kinesio taping studies were 4.2 and 7.8, respectively. Overall, therapeutic taping exhibited significantly greater pain reduction than control taping with a significant weighted mean difference of 12.8 mm on a 0- to 100-mm visual analogue scale. Compared to control taping, Leukotaping produced a significant weighted mean difference of 11.6 mm regarding pain with a large effect size of 0.89 and I2 = 0%, while Kinesio taping produced a non-significant weighted mean difference of 12.1 mm and I2 = 93%. Leukotaping also exhibited a large and significant standard mean difference of 0.82, while Kinesio taping exhibited a non-significant standard mean difference of 1.34 regarding climbing stairs and stepping. Conclusion: Therapeutic taping seemed to be superior to control taping in pain control for knee osteoarthritis. Non-elastic taping, but not elastic taping, provides benefits in pain reduction and functional performance.
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