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I have been looking into using taping for a problem I'm having with my knees. I've found different names for taping methods. Are these all basically the same or are there real differences?

There are three main taping techniques used here in the United States. There's a technique using regular white athletic taping, McConnell taping, and Kinesio Taping®. There are apparent differences but no studies yet comparing them to show results.

White athletic tape is rigid and requires a pre-wrap before putting it on. It is used to prevent injuries or for injuries right after they occur. It's usually used just during the activity. The tape often irritates the skin when moisture gets trapped under it. Some people are allergic to the latex in the tape. There's no proven benefit to this method.

McConnell taping is a bracing or strapping technique using a super-rigid, cotton mesh tape. It's very adhesive and is sold as EnduraTape® or LuekoTape®. Its use got started with a knee problem called patellofemoral syndrome (PFPS). Now it's also used for the back, shoulder, foot, and hip. It's usually only left on for short periods, due to possible skin reactions. Some people say it's too "tight" and feels "suffocating." Studies show mixed results for this method.

Kinesio Taping® gives support while allowing full motion. It's latex-free and doesn't compress the skin. Some people use it for several days up to a week. It's water resistant so moisture doesn't get trapped under it and the patient can bathe with it on. Some physical therapists are trying it for a swelling condition called lymphedema. Studies are underway for this taping technique, too.


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