A recent study found Kinesiology Taping to be an effective method of reducing edema of the lower limbs among patients treated with the Ilizarov method, a procedure used to lengthen limbs.

The research, “Clinical efficacy of Kinesiology Taping in Reducing Edema of the Lower Limbs in Patients Treated with the Ilizarov Method” involved 24 subjects undergoing lower-limb lengthening via the Ilizarov method, each of whom developed edema of the thigh or crus—the portion of the leg between the ankle and knee—of the lengthened limb.

Patients were randomized into two groups of 12, both of which received standard physiotherapy for about 10 days, which is the average amount of time spent in the hospital following surgery for this limb-lengthening procedure. Seven subjects in each of the two groups were undergoing thigh lengthening, and five in each group were undergoing crus elongation.

The difference between the two groups was the method of therapy used to reduce edema. In the control group, lymphatic drainage was performed once a day. In the study group, Kinesiology Taping was used, and the tape strips were maintained for an average of 10 days.

“Kinesiology Taping is a relatively new treatment method, which consists in applying a specially designed tape onto selected body fragments,” state the study’s authors. “The method was developed and has been propagated by Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor.”

The researchers report the tape is called Kinesio Tex, and it’s an elastic, adhesive tape with properties similar to human skin.

“When applied onto the body surface, the tape generates stimuli received by skin receptors,” the study’s authors state. “According to its inventor, edema-reducing Kinesiology Taping prevents stasis, facilitates circulation of blood and lymph and improves the so-called subcutaneous lymphatic drainage.”

Careful measurements of subjects’ limbs were taken before and after the edema-reducing interventions. Results revealed that those patients with edema of the thigh in the Kinesiology Taping group experienced a statistically significant reduction of circumference at all measurement levels. Subjects with edema of the crus in the Kinesiology Taping group demonstrated a statistically significant reduction of circumference at two of three measurement levels.

As for patients in the control group, those with edema of the thigh showed a statistically significant reduction of circumference at two of three measurement levels. Those with edema of the crus showed a statistically significant reduction of circumference at one of three measurement levels.

Authors: Dariusz Bialoszewski, Weronika Wozniak and Slawomir Zarek.

Sources: Medical University of Warsaw, Poland. Originally published in Ortopedia Traumatologia Rehabilitacja (2009) 11: 46-54.

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