Posted by Steve Middleton, MS, ATC, CSCS, CES, CKTP

Kinesio tape continues to be a growing treatment modality among therapists and sports professionals. It has been used to treat pain, swelling and muscle spasms that have a direct relationship to increases in range of motion. Clinicians propose that the tape works through mechanical and proprioceptive changes yet the exact mechanisms of its actions are not fully understood.

Nerve conduction velocities were measured in the upper extremity along the ulnar, median and radial nerves. After a period of rest, kinesio tape was applied in an inhibitory manner (distal to proximal/insertion to origin). After kinesio taping, amplitude and latency were reduced in both the median and radial nerves while the nerve conduction velocity was slower in all three nerves. However, in the ulnar nerve, amplitude and latency was increased. None of these measures were considered statistically significant.

While the changes were not considered significant, they are in line with the described action the tape was applied to achieve. Perhaps future studies will look at how varying amounts of stretch applied to the tape during application affects nerve conduction velocities > from Lee et al.; J Phys Ther Sci. 23 (2011) 313-315.