The Effect of Kinesio Taping on Spasticity: A Randomized, Controlled, Double-Blind Pilot Study in Para-Swimmers

Luca Puce, Ilaria Pallecchi, Lucio Marinelli, Maria May, Laura Mori, Piero Ruggeri, Marco Bove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Kinesio Taping (KT) produces several clinical effects, including pain relief, edema absorption, and improved muscle performance. When applied in the insertion to origin mode, it is claimed to inhibit excessive muscle contractions. Objective: Investigate whether KT applied in the insertion to origin mode could reduce the exaggerated reflex contraction of spastic muscles. Design: Randomized crossover trial, with a restricted block randomization. Setting: Clinical laboratory and swimming pool. Patients: Seven para-swimmers. Intervention: KT, applied in inhibitory mode, to investigate its effect on knee extensor spasticity. Main Outcome Measures: Primary outcome is stretch reflex, as compared with clinical assessment of spasticity by Modified Ashworth Scale and self-perceived spasticity by numeric rating scale. Secondary outcomes were Medical Research Council for strength of knee extensor muscles and chronometric swimming performance in 100-m freestyle. Results: KT significantly decreased the amplitude of stretch reflex (P < .001), whereas the placebo treatment produced no significant effects. Scores of Medical Research Council for strength and Modified Ashworth Scale did not change after KT, whereas numeric rating scale scores for spasticity significantly decreased (P = .001). The swimming performance was significantly improved after KT treatment as compared with baseline (P < .01). Conclusions: This exploratory study performed on para-athletes suggests that KT could reduce spasticity. This outcome has 3-fold implications for clinical, rehabilitation, and sport methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-421
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sport Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Athletes
  • Electromyography
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Para-athlete
  • Stretch reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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