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Kinesiology taping reduces the pain of finger osteoarthritis: a pilot single-blinded two-group parallel randomized trial

Authors Wade RG, Paxman CB, Tucker NC, Southern S

Received 2 October 2017

Accepted for publication 7 February 2018

Published 3 July 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 1281—1288


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Ryckie G Wade,1,2 Claire B Paxman,3 Naomi C Tucker,3 Stephen Southern4

1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Leeds, UK; 2Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK; 3Department of Hand Therapy, Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield, UK; 4Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Pinderfields General Hospital, Wakefield, UK

Objectives: Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common arthropathy of the hand, and current treatments carry risks of adverse events. Supportive (kinesiology) tape may be analgesic and provide functional improvement, with a low risk of adverse outcomes. We experimented with supportive tape for OA of the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIPJ) of the finger in this pilot randomized trial.
Methods: This two-group parallel randomized trial recruited adults with OA of the PIPJ of the finger. We excluded patients lacking capacity or the ability to safely apply the tape. Participants were randomized to receive kinesiology tape on the dorsum of the finger, blind to grouping. Pain was the primary outcome, which was recorded on a visual analog scale (VAS). Secondary outcomes were hand function and adverse reactions. Bootstrapped between-group analyses are reported.
Results: Ten patients were included and randomized and provided complete data. There was no significant difference in pain between the groups (mean difference of 0.4 VAS units [95% confidence interval {CI} –1.6, 0.7], p=0.4). Overall, the application of kinesiology tape reduced reported pain by 6% (mean reduction of 0.6 VAS units [95% CI 0, 1.2], p=0.04). Taping did not affect hand function or digital range of motion. There were difficulties in recruiting individuals owing to the lack of dedicated research staff.
Conclusion: Kinesiology taping may reduce the pain of OA in the finger; however, whether this is a true effect, placebo effect, Hawthorne phenomenon, or due to a statistical error (ie, type 1 error due to underpowering) is unclear. Hence, further trials are required.

Keywords: osteoarthritis, hand, kinesiology, tape, pain, trial, pilot, randomized, PIPJ, proximal interphalangeal joint, digit

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