The following knee taping techniques are designed to support the knee and reduce stress on the knee during activity. They can be used for both the treatment and prevention of knee injuries.
You should discuss the suitability of these knee taping techniques with your physiotherapist prior to using them. Generally, they should only be applied provided they are comfortable and do not cause an increase in pain, discolouration, pins and needles, numbness, swelling, itchiness or excessive redness of the knee, lower leg, ankle, foot or toes.
For taping techniques for the fat pad of the knee, patella and patella tendon, view the links below:
What sort of tape should be used to tape my knee?
There are many different tapes and bandages available for use by physiotherapists and patients. However, when the purpose is to restrict undesired motion, adhesive, non-stretch (rigid) sports tape is generally the most appropriate. (For knee strapping 38mm is usually the most appropriate size). This should always be used in combination with hypoallergenic tape as an underlay, such as Fixomull.
Benefits of Knee Taping
When used correctly, knee taping techniques can:
- Aid healing of knee injuries
- Allow an earlier return to sport or activity following injury
- Reduce the likelihood of injury aggravation
- Prevent knee injuries (such as an MCL or LCL sprain) during high risk activities or sports (such as skiing, rugby etc.).
Indications for Knee Taping
It is generally beneficial to tape a knee in the following instances:
- Following certain knee injuries – Knee strapping may be beneficial following certain knee injuries (such as sprains). This should be discussed with the treating physiotherapist as certain knee injuries should not be taped – such as some fractures.
- To prevent injury or injury aggravation – Knee strapping may be beneficial during sports or activities that place the knee at risk of injury or injury aggravation (such as skiing, rugby, basketball etc.)
When should I avoid Knee Taping?
Knee taping should be avoided in the following instances:
- If you have certain injuries such as some fractures (this should be discussed with the treating physiotherapist)
- If you have a skin allergy to sports tape
- If the taping technique results in an increase in symptoms such as pain, ache, itchiness, discolouration, pins and needles, swelling, numbness or excessive redness of the knee, lower leg, ankle, foot or toes.
- If you have sensory or circulatory problems
Weaning off knee tape in general activity is usually recommended as strength, range of movement and function improves and symptoms reduce. In these instances though, taping during high-risk activity (such as some sports) is usually still recommended.
Knee Taping Techniques
The following taping techniques may be used to provide support for the knee and are particularly beneficial following an MCL or LCL sprain, or, to prevent a sprained knee. Generally it is recommended that the knee is shaved 12 hours prior to taping (to prevent painful removal of hairs and skin irritation). The skin should be cleaned and dried, removing any grease or sweat. Low irritant Fixomull tape should be applied as an under-wrap to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation with rigid sports tape over the top of this.
Some or all of these taping techniques may be applied to tape the knee and provide the support required for the individual.
Begin this taping technique with the knee in a slight bend (approximately 30 degrees) and the thigh muscles contracted (figure 1). Place a strip of tape around the top of the lower leg and bottom of the thigh as demonstrated (figure 1). This should be applied gently to prevent circulatory problems and is used as a fixation point for the other taping techniques.
Keeping the knee in a slight bend (approximately 30 degrees), start the tape at the level of the lower leg anchor on the inner aspect of the knee by following the black arrows (figure 2). Conclude this taping technique at the level of the thigh anchor by firmly following the white arrows (figure 2). 2 pieces of tape should be used forming a cross (figure 2). Do 1 – 2 medial crosses depending on the amount of support required.
Medial Straight Lines
Lateral Straight Lines
Knee Taping for an MCL tear
Knee Taping for an LCL tear
Knee Taping for a meniscal tear
Removing the tape
Care should be taken when removing the tape to avoid injury aggravation or skin damage. Blunt Nosed Tape Scissors should be used. The tape should be removed slowly, pulling the tape back on itself with pressure placed on the skin as close as possible to the line of attachment of the tape.
Generally, tape should be removed with 48 hours of application or sooner if there is any increase in pain or symptoms (including skin irritation or itchiness).
Knee Taping Summary
To purchase physiotherapy products to assist with Knee Taping click on one of the above links or visit the PhysioAdvisor Shop.
Other Taping Techniques
- Fat Pad (Infrapatellar)
- Patella Tendon
- Tennis Elbow
Find a physiotherapist in your local area who can help with knee strapping.
- Read about an LCL Tear.
- Read about an MCL Tear.
- Read about a Medial Meniscus Tear.
- Read about a Lateral Meniscus Tear
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