Hand Osteoarthritis

Use kinesiology tape to naturally reduce pain from hand osteoarthritis. Taping increases strength, support, range of motion and decreases pain from your arthritis.

by Alexandra Poletto, Masters of Science (MSCI)

Many people associate the use of kinesiology tape with sport and active lifestyles, yet there is growing evidence that it can be helpful in painful conditions that restrict people’s everyday function. Osteoarthritis can be a nasty condition, characterized by chronic inflammation and pain, and commonly affects the small joints such as the hands.

Individuals with hand osteoarthritis (HOA) experience pain, loss of the range of motion (ROM), joint stiffness, reduced muscle strength, including grip and pinch strength, as well as increased fatigue. Accomplishing daily tasks can become very challenging and painful, limiting one’s participation in activities and potentially reducing work ability.

Up to now, there has been no treatment for HOA. Optimal management of HOA requires a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments. Treatment should be focused on reducing pain , improving hand strength and ROM, as well as reducing stiffness, with an overall goal of enhancing physical hand function.

In the rehabilitation of HOA, the interventions, such as exercise, splints, heat therapy, electrotherapy, acupuncture, and joint protection, are recommended for pain relief and improvement of hand function. However, the implementation of these interventions is tedious, resource-intensive, and costly, often requiring the transportation of patients to specialized facilities.

Considering the importance of hand function, most of these interventions can be enhanced by using kinesiology taping. According to the literature, it was shown that kinesio tape has benefits in the clinical setting for pain reduction, joint approximation, as well as improvement of the joint alignment, ROM, strength, and activity.

Taping for Hand Osteoarthritis

A pilot study in 2019 looked at the effect of adding kinesiology tape to the usual physiotherapy exercises that patients completed as part of their management of osteoarthritis. They included 38 subjects with hand osteoarthritis, and had 19 subjects complete the usual physiotherapy exercises, and 19 subjects did the same physiotherapy exercises plus had kinesiology tape applied to their hands and forearms. All subjects used a visual analog scale, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire, as well as goniometer and dynamometer measurements, were used to assess pain severity, upper extremity functional disabilities, ROM, and grip strength, respectively, before and after the intervention and at 2 months of follow-up.

There was no significant difference in pre-intervention scores between the two groups. Both groups had significant improvement in pain, ROM, hand strength, and upper-extremity functional abilities after the intervention. In addition, the follow-up analysis showed significant changes, compared to the initial assessments except for the pain in the only exercise group. Results of the independent t-test revealed that change was significantly greater in kinesiology tape using group than that in the only exercise group at post-intervention and 2-month follow-up assessments except for the wrist flexion and upper-extremity functional abilities at final evaluation.

This is encouraging for many practitioners who don’t necessarily treat sporting injuries, as they can utilize kinesiology tape to help their patients complete essential daily tasks with less pain, which is arguably more important than improving sporting performance!


Mobility Tape is a unique kinesiology tape that has therapeutic benefits. Using menthol and borneol it naturally heats up the tape upon application to provide increased pain relief and a reduction in inflammation. Mobility tape would be an excellent complementary medicine to osteoarthritis especially to add support during activities and exercises.


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