Knee pain is annoying, and can often impact almost everything in your daily life. Whether that be walking to and from work, squatting down to get or getting in and out of your car. Unfortunately, there isn’t a band-aid solution that can solve your particular knee pain. Knee pain is multifaceted and requires a proper diagnosis of what particular structure might be causing the discomfort or pain.
However, for a specific type of knee pain – or even for any knee pain – taping can be an effective way to get some quick pain relief and help you get through your day. The purpose of this post is an informative guide on a specific taping technique called: “Modified McConnell Taping“. This is not encouraging the use of knee taping without proper rehabilitation advice from your healthcare professional.
Before We Begin: Contact Dermatitis
Before application of tape, you must test if you are allergic or have a reaction to the tape itself. Some individuals may have a reaction to certain components of the tape which may results in symptoms such as:
- Tender to touch
Occasionally, specific brands of tape can cause allergic reactions, so you may have to ask your pharmacist on recommendations and to trial different types. This usually involves getting a small piece of tape placed on your hand or wrist, then seeing if there’s a reaction.
Diagnosis of knee pain
The diagnosis of knee pain is quite difficult as there are a multitude of structures that surround the knee. The particular structure this taping works well for is something colloquially coined: “Fat pad impingement“. Unfortunately, with the huge amount of variability within the physiotherapy profession, there is a large amount of variation behind the diagnosis and treatment behind this specific pathology.
The following signs and symptoms may indicate you have “fat pad impingement”. However, many of these symptoms are all common knee pain symptoms for any pathology.
Knee pain signs and symptoms:
- Pain directly under the knee cap
- Generally achy but sometimes sharp depending on movements
- Sometimes may radiate to the sides of the knee cap
- Pain with putting weight in a bent position (e.g. up and down stairs, lunging / squatting)
- Usually settles with rest and not moving it
- Returns after resuming activities, especially high impact exercise such as running or jumping
I must reiterate. Each of these symptoms individually will not mean anything, but collectively when combined with physical tests from a physiotherapist may reveal evidence of “fat pad impingement.”
The Taping Technique
General guidelines after the application of tape are:
- Check for any adverse reactions, such as those mentioned in the Before We Begin: Contact Dermatitis section.
- Tape can be kept on for 3 – 5 days, so long as you haven’t been sweating excessively
- Tape can get wet, and just needs to be pat dried after showering
- If the tape begins to come off, it is recommended to reapply as opposed to trying to fix it
- Removing the tape: Roll the tape, do not rip the tape off. This can help with reducing skin irritation after taking off tape. (Hint: Don’t just rip it like a band-aid).
Let’s get one thing straight… Taping of the knee is not a long-lasting solution and will not be useful in the prevention of further knee pain. If the underlying reason behind the knee pain is not resolved, then recurrence of knee pain is common. However, this knee taping technique can still be useful in providing some pain relief with general knee pain.
A recommendation would be to follow this knee pain guideline as well as trial the application of this taping technique.
To summarise the knee pain guideline, knee pain can be improved by:
- Short-term pain relief strategies, such as massaging, myofascial release and trigger point therapy
- Passive stretches
- Education on pain management and understanding the pain cycle
- Long-term management through a structured exercise programme
What would you do with less knee pain?